Keeping things simple as healthcare transforms.

 

I spent considerable time this month listening to presentations on how the healthcare industry is transforming and prioritizing changes.

 

The theme that emerged is “simple as possible”. Many panelists spoke about it in different ways whether they talked about looking past the latest shiny thing or the need to be really selective in choosing solutions and partners.

 

In other words, there are nice to haves and then there are must haves. The healthcare systems are focusing on the must haves and are carefully select partners to extend and innovate on the services that they provide.

 

With that said, I would like to offer some ways to think about the transformation underway.

 

1/ Simple frameworks to evaluate advances in medicine.

 

Early in my career, I attended a Venture Capital conference. One of my most valuable takeaways from the conference was the framework for assessing medical technology.

 

The framework is similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in that you want to reach the top of the hierarchy. The top of the Medical Technology framework is rejuvenation and the bottom is remove. In between is repair and replace.

 

When you think about medical services, use the framework to understand how advanced the science is in relation to the service. Then engage with your physician to understand how the science is evolving.

 

Even though there is a lot of promising research underway, rejuvenating and restoring bodily function may be years or even decades off.

 

2/ Digital services that will help you live a healthy and full life.

 

I follow several of the leading longevity researchers. Like many of the worried well, I am always looking for tips to optimize my health and wellbeing. Much to my disappointment, one of the leading researchers recently tweeted that we can’t optimize our diets, exercise programs and sleep to materially extend our lifespan.

 

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t use all the new devices, characterized as shiny objects, to improve and enhance our health. Just know that the additional 50 years of youthful life will come from the research and advances in medicine.

 

In the mean time, some of the new devices used to track and evaluate our health and wellbeing are shifting to diagnostics and others are trying to address age related deficits. The clear winners are yet to be determined.

 

Healthcare systems are being very selective when choosing devices for their patient populations. However, health consumers will be empowered to enhance their health in new ways. Budget accordingly because these expenses will be paid out of your pocket.

 

3/ Broader changes to help curb the rising cost of healthcare.

 

Healthcare systems are taking one of the most important steps forward in bending the cost curve. They are getting out of the hospitals and into the homes of their patients where they can observe the needs firsthand.

 

From a population perspective, the foundation represented by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is cracked and eroding. Many people simply lack the financial resources to live healthy lives. Some of the issues can be resolved with the right services and devices whereas others require changes in business and policy to facilitate the transformation.

 

Stakeholder Capitalism solves some of the issues because it curbs the business practices that continue to erode the foundation. Government policy is needed to address the remaining issues such as the cost of housing.

 

It’s worth your time to watch The Economist’s presentation on housing policy. The video contrasts current policy with the policies of countries with more affordable housing and higher rates of wellbeing. 

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