Many payer and service provider organizations are busy adjusting their strategies to align with the structural and financial system changes brought by health care reform. High-needs complex consumer. Coordinate care management. Health home. Medical home. Accountable care organization. Value-based contracting. Readmission prevention. This is the new vocabulary of strategic positioning.
The executive teams of cutting-edge provider organizations are planning their strategic response in three steps: One, develop administrative competencies needed to succeed in a model with care management intermediaries. Two, develop the management competencies needed to accept value-based payment – both risk-based and pay-for-performance. Three, create service program models that ‘fit’ in the new financing landscape – and are financially sustainable (see Three Steps To Being Positioned & Prepared For Health Care Reform all members).
When this system realignment is complete (and the more competitive the market, the sooner this will happen), what is next for successful positioning? One word: Technology. In mature markets, the organizations (both payer and provider) that will be most successful will be those that are able to use emerging technologies to gain the competitive advantage.
When I say emerging technologies, I’m not just talking about electronic health records (EHRs) – though I’m not excluding them from the equation. I’m talking about everything from telehealth and smartphone apps, to robots and remote monitoring. Each of these technologies falls into one of three key categories – each with their own broad functions and each shaping the market in their own way. I like to define them as the what, the how, and the when:
The What – What is new science changing when it comes to treating consumers? A better understanding of brain chemistry, the ability to monitor brain functionality and changes using scanning tools and new biologic tests, and the identification of genetic and epigenetic factors in behavioral and cognitive disabilities raise new questions about how we adapt our present treatment models to utilize all of the new knowledge that we have at our disposal. Scientific advancements, such as neurotechnology devices, computer-based cognitive retraining, and genetically engineered pharmaceuticals mean that health care professionals must think about consumer illness and treatment in new ways. (See New Science Demands New Strategies all members.)
The How – How is technology changing where services are delivered? With the emergence of e-health, mobile technologies, and remote monitoring, “place” is no longer a defining factor in service delivery. Technology can be used to connect consumers to health care professionals regardless of geographic location – meaning provider organizations need to think beyond their own four walls. (See Consumer Demand & Cost Savings: Why Remote Monitoring Is Becoming A Regular Part Of The Health Care Landscape.)
The When – When can technology be utilized to improve decision making? The process and practice of analyzing the data collected and stored through EHRs and health information exchange leads to new possibilities for strategic decision making and clinical decision support. Having consumer health information available and organized in a meaningful way allows executives to make better management decisions regarding their operations – and clinicians to make better treatment decisions regarding consumers. (See ‘Big Data’ For Dummies all members.)
Over the next two weeks, in preparation for our 2013 Technology & Informatics Institute, I’m going to take a look at technology from the strategic perspective. For executives, the key is not necessarily to understand all the details about every new tech innovation, but rather to understand the strategic implications of technology for their organization in particular and the health and human service market overall. Remember, as Michael Porter said, “The underlying principles of strategy are enduring, regardless of technology or the pace of change.”
For another free resource, see: ‘Must Consider’ Technology all members