Judith Rodin, author of The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong, recently discussed what it takes to be a resilient society. In the interview, she defined resilience as “the ability to bounce back when things go wrong” and deemed this an urgent social and economic issue. Why? It’s because we live in a highly interconnected and continually disruptive world.
I was struck by the impact of this definition and applicability to the healthcare market. Change has been an industry catchword for the past decade. However, in many discussions, there is an underlying expectation that once all the changes are addressed – new purchasing models, quality based programs, ICD-10, shifting network and delivery strategies – there will be an end point to the change and disruption. Healthcare reform has pressured health plans to meet new consumer demands in new ways. While it’s hard to say how much these demands will shift, one thing is for certain: anticipating their needs – and adapting to whatever changes the market brings – will be key to staying competitive.
Applying concepts of the Resilience Dividend brings to light a shifting context – that is, in the interconnected and disruptive world, change is now a constant. For the past 20 years, the market has thought and rethought its purchasing, reimbursement, delivery and consumer models. HMOs are wrong; ACOs are right. Old fee for service reimbursement models are wrong; new quality-based reimbursement models are right. Employer insurance models are wrong; exchange models are right ... if only that were the case. We all know that every one of these statements are hotly and frequently contentiously debated. Wrong to some; right to others. The debate will continue; decisions and market direction will change. Furthermore, healthcare is frequently at the forefront of change. How we evolve with these macro changes will not only impact your business, but healthcare overall.
Survival, then, for healthcare is doubly hard, as change is now the norm for the healthcare landscape, and things will go wrong. Resilience is now the key to survival. The goal, as Judith Robbin describes it, is to establish organizational resiliency through the capacity to adeptly respond to change and recover from decisions that turn out to be wrong. But more important is the organization’s ability to then take advantage of new opportunities provided by the disruption that propel growth and expansion in new ways.
For information-based industries, including banking and insurance, the extent to which underlying technologies support change and promote resiliency may be a large factor in an organization’s successful adoption of resilient business practices. Unfortunately, the notion of resiliency is not strong among healthcare technologies and applications. Most are built for specific market conditions, processing and information contexts; few are flexible enough to enable the health plan to effectively respond to change, much less use change in ways that drive new products, growth and expansion.
Thriving means moving toward a strategy of resilience that acknowledges a market of continual change. To do this, technology strategy, decisions and management must also change. Investments must focus on technology and application resilience capabilities, as much as they focus on the application’s ability to support specific business needs of the day. Resilient technologies and applications have important attributes that enable healthcare organizations to evolve their businesses, products, processing and information needs – without having to completely re-architect. Notable attributes include configurability, rules-based, workflow and case management-focused, intent- driven, cloud-delivered, mobile, social and omni-channel rich.
Resiliency – that bounce back factor – becomes a leading success factor of both the business model and the underlying technologies that support them.
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