by Elizabeth Olson and Jacob Lippa
It’s no secret that health care faces considerable challenges: fragmentation, misaligned incentives, and entrenched interests to name a few. But there is hope. In his recent Whiteboard Session for Harvard Business Review, health care guru and physician leader Tom Lee looks to five of today’s most influential business thinkers for promising ideas that deliver real value for patients.
Lee first looks to Harvard Business School’s Michael Porter and Leemore Dafny, experts in strategy and competition, and reminds us that that the overarching goal of health care delivery must be to achieve high value for patients. This means that health care providers must be willing to make difficult choices about where they are going to compete. He goes on to explain that competition is necessary to drive improvement. Regulation can create a floor, he says, but it can’t produce improvement. The pressure of competition, the desire to win and the fear of losing, is what will create a better health care system.
Turning to the social sciences, Lee then draws on Ronald Burt, Nicholas Christakis, and Angela Duckworth to understand the behavioral and organizational imperatives. The first of these, Lee believes, is the ability to create social capital – to nurture creativity, trust, respect, and teamwork in order to find and implement ideas that create value. This can’t happen on its own, though. It requires that organizations change social norms to emphasize empathy, communication, and excellence. The final piece, he believes, is passion and perseverance, driven by interest, hope, and purpose.
Each of these ideas alone is incredibly powerful, as evidenced by the acclaim their respective scholar has received. But Lee concludes that they should not be thought of independently. Rather, these ideas are interrelated and, when working in concert, have the ability to create a virtuous cycle with the potential to truly overcome the systemic challenges facing health care today.
Building on this work, Lee will be leading a panel during the opening plenary session of 2017 ICHOM Conference that will examine the question, “what should a marketplace that is driven by competition on value look like?” Panelists representing patients/consumers, providers, and society at large as represented by the media will seek common ground to define key steps toward creating such a marketplace.
To register for the 2017 ICHOM Conference, please click here.