Provider-led innovation and partnerships are transforming the health care ecosystem and creating new approaches for managing the health of patient populations, improving access and expanding health equity.
During the program that kicked off last week’s HLTH conference, AHA leaders, provider organizations, health tech and business executives shared insights into how to move the needle as the field transforms in a post-pandemic world.
4 Takeaways for Providers
1. Collaboration is king.
While hospitals and health systems have long partnered with other organizations to ensure access to care and social services in their communities, partnership is no longer optional. “The need to transform care delivery has never been greater, and meeting this challenge will require unparalleled collaboration, partnerships and coordination across key stakeholders,” said Michelle Hood, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the AHA.
2. Digital transformation: It’s not about splash, it’s about the smart use of data.
Data are foundational to achieving many of the desired outcomes of hospitals’ transformation efforts. Providers must establish a comprehensive, documented data strategy that outlines the organization’s approach to data governance, top priorities for data usage and a road map to achieve greater data liquidity. Data liquidity, or the ability for data from all sources in an organization to easily flow through all systems, enables hyperpersonalized digital experiences. This is how online retailers know exactly what we’re looking to buy before we do. For health care organizations to anticipate patients’ needs in a similar fashion, hospitals and health systems must first create an underlying data foundation.
3. Personalization builds engagement and drives experience.
Focusing on a highly tailored experience for all patients advances health equity. While the concept of personalization tends to invoke thoughts of cutting-edge medicine or splashy, concierge-like digital experiences aimed at the well-insured, personalizing care experiences may be most important for patients who have historically experienced health inequities. Providers’ digital transformation efforts must remove friction for all patients. As a starting point, providers should collect data on patient racial, ethnic, language, sexual orientation, gender identity and social factors that can be fed into various patient-facing and clinician point-of-care interfaces to drive more personalized care.
4. Hospital ‘anchor’ strategies can increase impact by extending to community investment.
In recent years, hospitals have used the term ‘anchor’ to describe their approach to population health. While they may not be able to solve all challenges created by societal impacts facing a patient, provider organizations can serve as an anchor among a network of community service providers, connecting patients to needed services and providing a warm, direct handoff to a person when possible.
That same strategy increasingly is being deployed toward community investment. Hospitals and health systems invest a percentage of their earnings to ensure long-term financial stability for the organization. Typically, these investments are in the stock market or other traditional investment vehicles. And, some hospitals earmark a portion of their investments for community-based entities. For example, 1% of Cleveland Clinic’s reserves are invested in affordable housing, opening grocery stores in food deserts or other community revitalization projects.
Boston Medical Center Health System (BMCHS) makes investments based on such criteria as how the funds can create jobs for people in the communities it serves. BMCHS along with Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital participate in the Boston Opportunity System Collaborative, which has engaged 14 employers and created 500 total new jobs over the past three years, including 150 positions through Jewish Vocational Services and 50 jobs at BMCHS.