Written: March 2023
The American healthcare system needs some serious innovation to solve the many challenges it faces. High cost is preventing Americans from accessing the health care services they need. Preventable medical errors are having a negative impact on the quality of care. Staffing challenges and poor efficiency magnify the challenges. Innovation is not the sole answer, but it is an essential ingredient to achieve the high-quality affordable healthcare Americans deserve. The Becker’s Hospital Review reached out to five health system leaders and got their perspective. The job titles of the five sets the tone.
Thomas Graham, MD is Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer of Kettering (Ohio) Health. Dr. Graham sees 2023 as the year when advanced remote (he calls them virtual) solutions transition from esoteric to essential. He said that telehealth got its “battlefield promotion” during the pandemic and won over both providers and patients. Dr. Graham said, “With this level of familiarity, we now can expand into virtual ICU, virtual stroke management, virtual nursing, and beyond.” In summary, he believes leveraging technology to reach more patients where they are, while alleviating pressure on limited human resources is a formula whose time has arrived.
Omkar Kulkarni is Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Digital Transformation Officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He believes innovative healthcare systems in 2023 will begin leveraging technology which can enable their staff to deliver care asynchronously in a distributed manner to maximize efficiency and throughput. Dr. Kulkarni said, “If the pandemic brought on the scaling of synchronous telemedicine, the post-pandemic period will encourage new care models in which healthcare providers and administrative staff maximize their productivity by reimagining the need for asynchronous work.”
Lisa Prasad is Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Henry Ford Health (Detroit). Ms. Prasad said, “We will see a great deal of progress in the use of artificial intelligence, retail healthcare delivery, and telemedicine and remote care, particularly for the elderly.” She noted however one of the biggest trends will be new platforms and technologies to address post-pandemic mental health challenges.
Roy Rosin is Chief Innovation Officer of Penn Medicine (Philadelphia). Dr. Rosin expects a few key trends outside the world of therapeutics, which continue to evolve quickly in curing disease and saving lives. He sees an ongoing focus on various forms of automation which enable both efficiency and the unburdening of overburdened care teams. Secondly, he expects further focus on moving care to high-value, less constrained settings, thereby shifting care out of hospitals and clinics. In summary, he said, “I believe we’ll see more models arise where there’s an evolution in who is delivering care, addressing access, cost efficiency and who can best engage patients.”
Jonathan Westall is Vice President of Ancillary Services at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital (Los Angeles). He believes consumption all around will be the biggest sustainability trend next year. He said, “We have seen hospitals’ green efforts almost halted during the pandemic as single-use and disposable items became a safety mandate for folks.” He makes a very practical point about stepping back and focus closely on what must remain single use and what can be reused safely to create less waste. His point remains true for energy and resource consumption as well. He summed it up with, “California is discussing power outages again. Nevada is focusing on potentially running out of water. Hospitals are large community-based partners, no matter what organization you work for; therefore, they must be at the forefront of this effort.”
The five executives make many valid points, but I would have liked to see more speed and action-oriented verbs. I hope the chief executives of healthcare organizations keep focused on the speed and execution of innovation and push forward to provide what patients and providers need. The leaders must also remove cultural barriers which can impede progress.
Dr. Al Villarin, Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer at Nuvance Health, and I co-authored an editorial commentary titled “How a digital patient experience can lead to future outcome driven healthcare: thoughts for executive teams. The commentary was published in the mHealth Journal in January, and we hope it helps healthcare leaders by adding a vision of how healthcare can be improved for patients and providers by focusing on a digital patient experience. You can read the commentary here.