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athenahealth CEO on redefining hospitals’ roles in networks

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–Graphic by Barrett Lyon

Jonathan Bush, founder and CEO of athenahealth, explains here why the future of the hospital is as part of a network.

.”…The vast majority of hospitals need to redefine themselves from organizations that deliver care to organizations that orchestrate care. Even though hospitals are one of the core lines of lifeblood in healthcare, the way in which the majority of them operate aren’t appealing to patients today, nor is it sustainable to hospitals’ future existence.”

“….{H}ospitals are the places where we see medical breakthroughs; where we find we are stronger, braver and more powerful than we think. In short, they are the places where humanity often shines at its brightest. However, our system is so broken that it’s turned this instrument of health and humanity into a walled citadel. To better serve the patients who are seemingly already going elsewhere, hospitals need to become a leading orchestrator of the very best care on behalf of patients.”

He recommends:

“First is the requirement to leverage an infrastructure of cross-continuum connectedness and total cost and quality transparency. Software alone won’t get hospitals there; being part of a more connected national network is critical.

“Second, hospitals need to embrace savvier consumer marketing that helps them stand out amidst emerging players in healthcare — like CVS Health and Walgreens — who understand the consumer mindset and have built their brands around convenience and ease.

“Third, a new era of hospital sales must emerge, working with insurers and employers to broker deals that send the right patients through your doors only for the services you do really well.

“Fourth, the successful hospitals will create a renaissance of accessibility: If you can’t provide an appointment slot served up via a mobile app for every procedure type within three days, you’re failing.

“And fifth, hospitals should become ecosystem partners, not brick-and-mortar investors. This means eliminating anything that can be done in a primary care practice, a retail clinic, or at home, and exporting non-invasive surgery out of the hospital to more cost-effective specialized surgical centers.”


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