healthcaretechoutlook

Like Planes, Hospital CEOs and Their Teams Need to Take Off into The Wind of Technological and Millennial Change

By William D. Paiva, PhD, Executive Director of Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Systems Innovation

William D. Paiva, PhD, Executive Director of Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Systems Innovation

Before the 1950s, the role of the Hospital CEO was largely inside the four walls of the institution dealing primarily with the internal operations of the hospital. Then from the 1950s to the 1990s, third-party payers, strong labor unions, managed care organizations, and governmental agencies all significantly changed health care delivery. At that time the responsibility of the CEO became a bifurcated role of handling both the internal operations of the hospital as well as the external stakeholders. And over the 1900s, the hospital has been the the central player in the delivery of health care.

Then, along came technologies like the internet, smart phones, digital health data, cloud computing, and advanced analytics tools. Sprinkled on top of these changes, the Millennial generation has exploded onto the landscape and their expectations for healthcare are much different than their predecessors.

All of a sudden…the role of the CEO has changed again.

At a technological level, we are seeing more and more healthcare being delivered on the edge at a patient’s fingertips and producing digital health data from many sources at a phenomenal rate. Connected medical devices are being developed at an amazing rate and telehealth is on the rise as more payers reimburse providers and hospitals for treating patients remotely. Venture Capitalists are pouring billions into digital health and this level of investment will only result in technologies that will allow patients to take control of their health care outside of the traditional hospital environment.

Patient data is being collected across these various connected devices, telehealth platforms, and electronic health record systems. The next wave for health data will be how we organize, process and analyze all this data from multiple sources so that it can provide actionable health insights for providers and patients as opposed to their data sitting dormant in some system or platform. Then as we become more comfortable with digital health data being stored securely in the cloud, electronic health records will become as mobile and portable as our ATM cards.

At a consumer level, there are 80 million Millennials, making them the largest generation in the United States and they control $200 billion in annual buying power. Their influence on all industries will be dramatic and the healthcare industry will not be immune to these pressures.

Millennials are brand loyal but this is not a blind loyalty. They generally do not respond to traditional advertising as they perceive it to be spin and not genuine. They do their homework through blogs, social media, and the internet before engaging in the health care system. Such investigation is usually done through multiple technology devices. Over 80 percent of Millennials indicate they will utilize two and three devices daily.

They are cost conscious, inpatient, and view health care holistically. Finally, they expect organizations with whom they choose to do business to give back to society and their local community and will choose the ones that do so over their competitors.

Hospitals that do not pay careful attention to these trends and adapt accordingly will risk obsolescence. To do so, hospital boards and their CEOs will need to think about their organizational structure and various roles and responsibilities to be successful with the Millennial generation.

Why care about the Millennial generation…this generation represents 40 percent of the population and is quickly becoming the sandwich generation directing their own care and the care of their children and parents.

CEOs must expand their leadership team with skills not traditionally found in healthcare organizations. This is a big challenge given the head winds many CEOs face trying to find talent to fill traditional roles, much less adapting to technology change and the pressure that is and will be exerted by the Millennial generation.

As we roll into a new era of health care, technological and Millennial factors are fueling a modern day industrial revolution in health care. Hospital CEOs will need to reinvent themselves and their organizations before they are disrupted.

Core to this reinvention will be the hospital’s organizational ecosystem that will need to include new job titles that heretofore are not part of current hospital management teams. A cursory sampling of hospital websites found few, if any, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Consumer Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, or Chief Experience Officer titles in the directories.

Hospital CEO successes will hinge on bringing in these non-traditional skill sets and integrating them with traditional hospital management functions to drive better clinical decision-making, efficient patient acquisition, experience, retention, and development of new technology driven care delivery models.

We, at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Systems Innovation, work tirelessly to inform and test new technologies and models of care to make a difference in this industrial health care revolution we are experiencing with the rapid adoption of technology and demographic shift.