In the latest instalment of The HCI Group interactive Leadership Series, Ed Marx interviewed Scott Becker on the best practices that he has learned over his years as an entrepreneur, conference leader and CEO of Becker’s Healthcare, the leading media outlets for business to business healthcare in the world. Here is a brief excerpt from the discussion:
What are the key trends that you anticipate for the industry following the pandemic?
“What is clear is that strong systems will survive this pandemic and be stronger because of it. This type of event shows the fragility of small businesses and systems, while the larger systems are seemingly looking too big to fail. What is assured is that we can’t afford to not have enough capacity for whatever problem comes up for the future. Digital health and digital transformation are going to be key to improving systems to make them more agile for future critical events. The world now understands the importance of such virtual care capabilities, such as Telehealth, and will want to see more of it.
Prior to this pandemic, we knew that there were tremendous shortages of doctors and healthcare workers, but now this situation has shined a light on the severity of this. I anticipate that these conversations about lack of workers will now have to be addressed and many will start to demand this. In addition, private Healthcare and MediCare-for-all discussions will inevitably be coming following this period of time. This is particularly likely when you consider that many who were relying on commercial insurance provided by their employers are now unemployed as a result of the pandemic.
We can estimate that there are around two to six more weeks of tremendous stress on the healthcare system to endure. I believe that after this there will need to be a period of time where healthcare leadership and providers can decompress, regroup and take the opportunity to breathe. This will be necessary to allow time for normalcy to slowly start to ramp back up in healthcare systems throughout the country.
What should healthcare systems be doing when it comes to virtual health?
Whilst I’m not a technical expert on how to implement virtual health, I have had the benefit of being involved in many discussions about this topic over the last few years with the people that are actively doing it. Fundamentally, healthcare systems should consider technical equipment and issues that could arise when implementing them. For instance, you need to consider your capacity of usage and prepare your systems for that level of connectivity. Really you want to be testing this capacity usage before you reach it, and this is a key lesson learnt from the pandemic. Platforms like Zoom have experienced an exponential growth in users, but because it was built and tested with this capacity in mind it is handling this growth better than some digital platforms. Similarly, hospitals who have already implemented digital health capabilities in their hospitals are now able to use this experience to adjust and perfect their systems. Those healthcare systems that were not already implementing digital will now need to be considering and investing in it in order to meet the needs of their patients.
Scott Becker started his professional life as a lawyer and went on to start his media company Beckers Healthcare 30 years ago, where he focused on the business healthcare industry. As a partner at McGuireWoods in Chicago, Scott provides counsel to hospitals, ASCs, surgical hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, single and multi-specialty medical practices and a variety of healthcare industry entrepreneurs. He is also the publisher of Becker’s Healthcare Portfolio of publications, as such has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with the audience of the live webinar