The main challenges to true innovation are the rising cost of healthcare and the inability to deliver better outcomes despite that higher price, according to Dr. Michael Modic, Cleveland Clinic’s chief clinical transformation officer.
“Should innovation be incremental? Does innovation need to be disruptive? Probably a combination of both,” Modic said this week during the clinic’s annual medical innovation summit, hitting a major theme for the conference: How can hospitals, suppliers and medical developers keep up with patient expectations – or even get ahead of them?
The consensus at the innovation summit was that patients rather than the physicians must come first. The healthcare industry formed around the needs of physicians, and was designed to help them deliver better care. Now, patients must be educated about medical solutions and language so that they can more fully participate in their healthcare, Modic said.
The priorities, according to Modic, are “first, quality and safety for all concerned. Not just patients, but caregivers. Second, experience for all concerned. Not just patients, but caregivers. Third is access; the ability to get in, the ability to experience, the ability to navigate. Fourth is affordability, because all this must be done within the context and the constraints of reality.”
As the healthcare industry gathers more data on best practices and procedures, this information must be made easier to understand for the patient, a concept Modic referred to it as “healthcare literacy”.
“There are the challenges of which innovation is going to be absolutely critical to address: How can we use analytic skill sets? How can we use electronic medical records? How can we use patient-generated data to come together in a meaningful way, that can be used by the end caregiver in real time to patient care? The opportunities for analytics there are just phenomenal,” he said.
For physicians, the rise of Big Data provides opportunities to segment and stratify patients in a more sophisticated and detailed way, enabling physicians to know more about what that patient needs, Modic said. For example, rather than characterizing patients just by their medical condition, physicians can log their cognitive and behavioral capabilities, social situation, living arrangements and their daily activities.
For patients, Modic said that means they must be more engaged in their own healthcare. That means in turn that medical innovations and approaches must now consider the patient in new ways – a shift that will affect the design of nearly all medical devices and systems, he said.
The shift in healthcare payment, from a volume-based model to an outcomes-driven model, raises another question, Modic said. Businesses selling into the healthcare market face a new challenge, he said, noting that in some cases reimbursement can change 10 times during a five-year investment.
“How do we split up risk-based revenue to continue to support innovations in the system? I think that will remain one of the most enormous challenges going forward,” he said.