Letter from the editor
It has been a year. Where to begin?
Welcome to the inaugural issue of Advisory Board’s Executive Insights—in what I hope will become a quarterly journal for executives across the health care industry. Herein we have collected all of our research, insights, and opinion pieces aimed specifically at health care leaders and published online across the first quarter of 2021.
For most of the past 12 months, our industry has found itself reacting, adapting, and hoping that life will return to what we remember at some point just around the corner. But it hasn’t turned out that way. It’s trite to say that the pandemic has irrevocably altered nearly everything we accepted as normal—but I don’t think that has it quite right. The pandemic—and indeed much of the past several years—has very painfully revealed that many of the assumptions we held as true and unchanging simply weren’t. Here are just a few from our industry: Telework results in poor productivity and engagement. Digital health will never take hold as a viable alternative to in-person visits. Physicians will never practice differently without different financial incentives being thrown at them. Patients may want to be treated with home-based care, but few will ever provide it. All, as it turns out, untrue.
In this issue—and in those to come—we want to show you not how to go back to normal (whatever that was), but rather what’s coming. We’ve examined how behavioral health will have to permanently change to adapt to a society largely kept isolated from one another for a year. We’re looking at the future of digital health and how Big Tech plans to disrupt it and private health plans intend to pay for it. And we model out future volume recovery for providers—under a variety of vaccination scenarios.
I should point out that everything you read here has already been published online. Some time ago, Advisory Board altered its publishing schedule such that ideas are now published as soon as they are written, and not long after they’ve been formulated and vetted. Executives no longer have to wait for a member event or the newest book to hear our take on any of the major topics facing the industry.
But sometimes it’s handy to have it all in one place. We, of course, welcome any and all feedback—effusive endorsement, savage criticism, we value it all. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for future topics, please feel free to contact me. I hope to see you all again very, very soon—either in person at an upcoming Advisory Board event, or in my (mostly) weekly webcast, Stay Up to Date. And if you haven’t subscribed to our podcast, Radio Advisory, hosted by my longtime colleague, Rachel Woods, please do so. It’s been growing by leaps and bounds. If you’re not registered and you’d like to be, we’ve helpfully included instructions how on page 88.
So those are the main things. How are you all?