Weekly Messages From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

Exceeding (Very High) Expectations

October 26, 2018 By: Bob Atlas

It’s no secret that health care, particularly hospital care, is ripe for disruption. Why else would giants like Amazon, Google, and CVS be diving into clinical practices with both feet?

They think they can build better mousetraps, and profit mightily from doing so. For example, Apple and Amazon have hinted at improving electronic health records systems, so they could be standardized and interoperable. Then they’ll mine the huge datasets to inform both immediate clinical decision-making and long-term health system strategies.

These disruptors intend to exploit a gap between expectations and performance. Health care consumers expect a lot of their providers. Notwithstanding the miracles that occur daily at Maryland’s hospitals, patients and families expect a superb experience every time they use our services. And they expect us to meet them where they are, including through the devices in their pockets or on their wrists.

The effects of disruption and consumerism were central themes at last week’s Healthcare Leadership Conference, hosted by the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute. A clear take-away: hospitals and health systems must quickly and deftly adapt to meet the sky high expectations of customers.

In fact, consumers’ expectations of health care – which they mainly regard as hospitals – are higher than for any other industry. More than 80 percent believe hospitals will meet or exceed their expectations. For banks it’s 71 percent, government 61 percent, and airlines 59 percent. The pressure is on us, as health care leaders, to deliver.

One reason is the massive growth in patient out-of-pocket costs. Consumers’ cost shares have risen from about 5 percent in 2000 to about 30 percent today. It’s also that the people we’re privileged to serve are literally placing their lives or the lives of their loved ones in our hands.

The good news is that idea of meeting people’s health needs and saving lives is already embedded in the mission statement of every hospital in Maryland. We share the same goals as the people we serve.

It’s now a matter of learning, in depth, the needs and expectations of our customers, whether they’re seniors actively under our care or millennials in our communities not yet using any health services. Armed with that knowledge, we must meet those needs and expectations in ways that work for each individual.

As we strategize to meet this demand, I encourage you to share stories of your success, so we can help disseminate the most effective approaches.