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My personal mindshift on care transformation

November 28, 2019

    I'll put my biases up front. Because culture is so hard to quantify and measure, I tend to miss it in my analyses. I know it's important. But it's broad and nebulous. In my ideal world I'd run regressions all day, so datasets are my preferred research currency. 

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    Luckily, I don't do research alone. I work with a great team of experts who are impartial, expansive and exhaustive in their analyses. And their findings this year have not only proven me wrong but also offered our members a concrete blueprint to navigate the changes in health care that you're all facing.

    How culture helps to navigate care transformation 

    This year's chief executive meetings investigated how health care leaders can "build the ship while sailing it." That's the expression we use to describe how to meet the dual priorities of delivering on all of your day-to-day operations and obligations while also shifting time, resources and focus to the future state of health care that you know you'll need to deliver.

    While I'd love to say that we found a magic wand that would bridge both of those worlds easily, I'm sure you know better than to expect those kinds of solutions.

    But what we did find is a series of moves you can make to continue to push forward on today's access, quality, and cost priorities—and at the same time move closer to your vision of connected and integrated health care of the future.

    We shared 13 moves in total, but it's the first seven that captured the discussion and imagination of our chief executive members across our autumn sessions. These moves focus largely on building the culture, the "room to think," and the key stakeholder buy-in for your transformation journey. Even our most hard-nosed executives came to recognise that unless you do the upfront visioning and socialisation work, the best pro-formas and business cases will grind to a halt.

    We shared the story of Welsh health board Hywel Dda to capture the importance of these moves. My colleagues have written about Hywel Dda's journey in greater detail. But what I really like about their story is that it forcefully demonstrates the power of these "softer" elements of transformation—the harder to measure and therefore easy to ignore factors. But it's precisely because they're "softer" that we can start on them earlier and use them to build the trust and vision needed to take on the more tangible elements (like staffing, footprint, payment).

    In other words, even if it feels impossible to change your physical footprint or reimbursement today, there are things you can do now to start making progress on your culture and vision.

    This research has been eye-opening for me because health care talks a good game about transformation, but we're now at a critical moment where we have to take concrete steps to transform. Cases like Hywel Dda show what's possible and inspire others to adopt and adapt these moves to their worlds.

    As we approach the end of the year, it was great to share that practical inspiration with our European chief executives, and I'm excited to share these stories with our members around the world across 2020.

    Want to learn more about what Hywel Dda did? Contact me at seegobiv@advsiory.com

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