CHICAGO — All sorts of new entrants are circling the health care waters, sensing opportunity in the form of frustrated and unsatisfied consumers. Your hospital can either find ways to connect with them, or sit back and wait until they've stolen your lunch.
That was the gist of a keynote speech given by Jonathan Bush, the outspoken co-founder and CEO of Athenahealth, during the HIMSS National Healthcare Innovation Summit last week. We're all familiar with some of the numbers Bush ticked off on the state of the industry — we spend 18 percent of GDP on health care, and yet only rank 42nd in the world in global life expectancy; 62 million patients are without a primary care physician; 55 percent of referrals come back to clinicians with no information; 59 percent of docs wouldn't recommend working in the profession, and so forth.
Also in this issue
|Hospital Leaders Respond to Charleston Shooting|
|The Traits of Today's Ideal Health Care CEO|
Outsiders such as Walgreens and urgent care providers are seeing some of the gaps in customer satisfaction in the market and are bringing convenient, retail-minded services to the market. Bush, cousin to President George W. Bush, says hospitals should view their entrance as an opportunity to partner and build their brand name, rather than a threat.
"It will be impossible for Rush [University Medical Center in Chicago] to ever develop the convenience and retail brand of Target. It's not a bad on you. Target will never do brain surgery as well as you, right? And I'm suggesting that you trade," Bush told attendees.
"Do not fear the emergence of those institutions outside your walls, encourage them and connect to them, rather than trying to bring them in because when you bring them in, you kill them," he added later, discouraging hospitals from buying up such competitors.
I spent a few minutes with Bush before his presentation last week, discussing some of these ideas, why he thinks the model with one health care entity at the center no longer makes sense, and what he envisions as an alternative to "captured care."