Hospitals and health systems — and the millions of team members who work there — are constantly driven to improve patient care.

They are always searching for better, more efficient and effective ways to keep people healthy and restore a person’s health.

Many of the great advances over the past few decades against heart disease, stroke, cancer and other conditions have resulted from research, new thinking and a willingness to experiment with different approaches.

In recent years, the dedication to innovation has been fueled in part by advancements in technology. Patients right now — and in the future — can expect more care delivery that is driven by 3D modeling; predictive analytics; advanced robotics for surgeries and treatments; and personalized therapies based on genomics . . . just to mention a few. In addition, hospitals are mainstreaming technologies that improve efficiencies and the consumer experience such as chatbot systems that provide important information 24/7 and using drones for deliveries to alleviate supply chain issues.

Exchanging ideas like these is what drives innovation. And that’s exactly what we did this week as more than 1,200 of the top minds from health care, medicine and technology gathered in Seattle for the AHA Leadership Summit.

During the conference, we also honored organizations for their exceptional health care leadership and innovation in improving quality; innovative efforts in palliative and end-of-life care; and outstanding efforts to advance diversity, inclusion and health equity. You can read more about strategies, programs and actions these organizations are undertaking.

Innovators in every field are “futurists,” and health care is no exception. While hospitals and health systems may take different pathways in working to achieve the vision for the different communities they serve, there are a number of things that unite us.

This includes wanting to see a future where we:

  • Have affordable coverage for all, and care is driven by what is needed … not how it is paid for;
  • Deliver superb and equitable clinical outcomes;
  • Focus on promoting wellness and addressing the social drivers of health;
  • Make behavioral health services available to a broader population … through virtual and other means;
  • Provide convenient care, including same-day appointments, prompt walk-in care and at-home care.
  • Receive test results as rapidly as possible to reduce our worries and anxiety;
  • Deliver seamless care where people guide handoffs and coordinate care;
  • Have medical records and information flow easily with appropriate protections for privacy; and
  • Are taken care of by people who operate as teams, have pride and joy in the work that they do, and aren’t burdened by paperwork and obstacles imposed by government and commercial insurance companies.

At the same time, we are continuing to work to stabilize the financial situation of hospitals and health systems; strengthen the workforce; and secure the field’s long-term ability to serve their communities.

The relentless pursuit of new knowledge, invention and innovation is a hallmark of America’s hospitals and health systems. And, it’s something we are committed to continuing as we lead the way toward the future.

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