Healthcare is our firm’s most mature and largest practice area, and we take pride in having our ear to the ground in the industry and having a keen intuition about what’s ahead. While there are a great many trends shaping healthcare, the five below are those that I believe will significantly impact the sector in the coming year. They’ll also greatly impact healthcare executive decision-making, and so I’ve provided some thoughts on the leadership implications of these trends as well.
1. Reform marches on. Regardless of what happens with “Reform” in Washington, D.C., reform outside the beltway will continue unabated. The industry is motivated to transform itself and has too much momentum to stop now.
Leadership implication: Continue with your plans to adapt your organization to a new landscape and remain visionary and opportunistic regardless of the political climate, remembering to balance innovation with practicality.
2. Consolidation will continue. In the current reform era, almost every organization faces the real and ongoing possibility of merger, acquisition, launch of new ventures, and other creative partnering to stay viable in the marketplace.
Leadership implication: See consolidation and the subsequent restructuring and disruption as business as usual. Forge ahead with collaborations and affiliations and be open to advances from other organizations.
3. The C-suite is shifting. As new integration models proliferate, every role in the healthcare executive suite changes. In addition, new roles (from Chief Patient Experience Officer to Chief Population Health Officer) are cropping up to improve care options and quality while cutting costs.
Leadership implication: Formally and informally evaluate your team and its skills to gauge whether you have the right roles and leaders, or need to retool your team to face the future.
4. Leadership is a team sport. Given the scope of challenges in today’s healthcare industry, executive teams must rely upon each other’s expertise to manage their responsibilities. They must also feed off each other to remain innovative and progressive. No executive is an island and no department is its own silo.
Leadership implication: Ensure your leaders serve first as a team of senior executives charting the course for future success and, secondly, are functional experts capable of executing the strategy in their modality.
5. Talent will get tighter. As global economies mature, the U.S. will not be able to dominate talent recruitment as it has in the past. U.S. healthcare organizations will need to position themselves wisely to attract physicians, nurses, IT experts, and other staff.
Leadership implication: Prioritize retention as a key strategic imperative.
Best of luck as you embrace the challenges ahead.