Why is Disruption Important for Health Care?


Every new health care innovation causes disruption.

Disruptive trends have made their way into everyday life, and significantly altered the way we think about simple things. Disruptions like smartphones have become so widespread, with relatively little push back, that many younger individuals are unaware of what a landline is. E-readers have quickly taken over the literature world; however, some individuals have been slower to leave their paper books behind.

The health care industry has also been adopting disruptive trends, such as electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescribing, and telehealth. These trends have left behind the traditional paper forms that may require increased time to keep track of and update.

Disruption is the process of abandoning the well-known for the innovative, and can significantly change an activity or event. For health care, adopting technology has been responsible for improving outcomes and reducing duplicate tests in a hospital setting.

During the keynote presentation at Premier Inc’s 6th Annual Specialty Pharmacy Executive Retreat, Nicholas Webb, futurist, technology CEO, inventor, and author, said there are 4 pillars of disruption.

The first pillar is hyper consumerization, which requires individuals to throw away the old and familiar for something new.

The second pillar is disruptive innovation, in which old models are destroyed in favor of something completely different. This trend was seen when physicians transferred all of their paper files to an electronic system, either due to an initiative from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or their own interests.

Every novel innovation in health care will be disruptive in nature, because in the process of implementing something new, we are destroying the old, according to the session. For health care, this transitioning occurs in diagnosis and treatment at the time of the intervention or office visit.

The third pillar is connection architecture, which is the concept that everything is connectable. Currently, if an individual is in need of glasses or contact lenses, they must pick up the phone, call the optometrist, schedule and wait for an appointment. On the day of the appointment, the patient will drive to the office, wait for the optometrist, wait 1 to 2 hours to receive the prescription, and then wait to receive the glasses or contact lenses.

However, due to new innovations, the patient can receive a free eye exam online, and then receive a prescription quickly through Opternative, according to Webb. The online platform also has a customer satisfaction of nearly 100%, which is much higher than most in-person visits.

The fourth pillar of disruption discussed by Webb are economic models. This new disruptive innovation must leverage a new economic model that encourages hyper consumerization. The new community of users also have the responsibility of sharing their opinions to increase use of a disruption, which may be especially important among the physician community.

More technologies have also translated into improving health care, despite being seemingly unrelated.

Wearable technology created by The Disruption Lab can deliver biodata, such as EEG, temperature, directionality, and true movement through the ear, according to Webb.

Virtual reality is already being used to provide data for surgeons and caregiver to improve patient outcomes. This technology could also be used in a hospital setting to improve human experiences, since hospitals can be scary for some patients. It may be a source of comfort for a patient who may be in their final days.

Webb reported that drones are already being used to deliver essential medications to Native Americans and rural areas in the United States, as well as in Africa. Additionally, 3D printing can be used to create devices at the location rather than shipping them.

Other disruptive technologies, such as aging cottages, can change the standards for elder care. These cottages are individualized for each patient, and can prevent them from dying of sadness or infectious disease, according to Webb.

Health care providers have to compete online, just as any store has to. In pre-touch moments, physicians may lose 30% of their revenue because they do not have an online presence or are not running a promotion. Webb said that this portion of revenue is lost prior to any engagement.

Physicians should also focus on the first-touch the patient has, which may be with their online portal or receptionist staff. This step can also lose patients due to technological difficulties or a miscommunication. The core-touch is important because at this step, the patient determines whether or not they will continue to receive care from a certain provider, according to the session.

A physician’s last-touch with the patient should always aim to be positive and memorable, with an in-touch experience that delivers post-care value.

If a provider does not keep up with innovation or fails to give patients a positive experience, as outlined by Webb, it may result in a loss of revenue. Staying up to date with technology disruptions and individualized experiences in important to ensure success in the health care space.

Without making disruption a part of any business—especially health care—competition is not possible, Webb concluded.

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