Create! Don't Lurk! Healthcare 2.0 amidst a sea of protest and forecasts

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AHIP brings each year a bit of a surprise. In my pre-AHIP posting, I discussed the dedication to improving the healthcare system all the while your industry is being painted as the “bad guy”. That point was driven home this morning. As I was getting charged-up learning about the opportunities to leverage social networking to further build a relationship with the patient/member, the masses were gathering outside the Moscone Center for a brief but large demonstration “for healthcare, against insurance” (somebody has deal with the cost) and for universal care. Too bad, I thought, that these individuals weren’t “flies on the wall” hearing the pervasive discussion inside around better engaging and improving relationships with the individual.

This morning’s breakfast was a good lesson in the danger of “case study” presentations without naming the subject. It’s always been my belief that the manner one leads a discussion is the best way to give credibility to one’s company. This morning I saw ¼ of the session’s time go to praising one’s own company, then rushing thru an unnamed case study where the basis seemed skewed from the beginning and results too-good-to-be-true. I’ll admit to a bit of self-satisfaction when the audience made it clear they were unimpressed. A good refresher for me and reminder of my beliefs.

So just what do the Democrats and Republicans feel is on the horizon? Two major general session panels today allowed political leaders like Bartlett, Breaux, Frist, McAuliffe, and Thompson (alphabetical) to give their versions of the crystal ball. Let’s just say all agreed to disagree and:

• Healthcare will take a back seat to Iraq and the Economy –or-

• Healthcare will remain an issue and exit polls will bear that out

• Congress, with 100 retiring members, will take on a much more “Blue” persuasion –or-

• Congress will not push forward substantive change

• The Republicans won’t state what they are for rather what they are against –and-

• The Democrats won’t state what they are against rather what they are for.

At the end of the day, I see a further public/private collaborative targeting the issue of making coverage more affordable, focusing on the 18-34 year old healthy population currently declining insurance purchase and some incremental series of programs to reduce the 47 million without insurance.

The session on leveraging social networking to build relationships is really what the coined phrase “Healthcare 2.0” is all about. I prefer to think of next generation healthcare being geared to the mindset, technologies and behavior of those 18-34 (anyone older is welcome to come along). Forrester’s Social Technographics Ladder is thought provoking and, by virtue of this Blog-Site, I fill the role of “Creator” “Critic” “Collector” and “Spectator”. You? Well if you are reading and giving feedback, you are a “Joiner” Critic” and “Spectator”….not sure if I like the description of a spectator being one lurking in the background though.

Bottom line, customers are and will drive your brand, your product and your services via social networking without your control. My reaction? - Join in and participate in thought leadership dialogue and build better relationships with your customers or be prepared to accept the blame when strategies fail. Whether you start with marketing automation, optimization campaigns are a have an existing social network strategy, analytics can only further enhance the relationship building.

One last takeaway this morning came from James Robinson, PhD around value-based purchasing. Not sure I fully comprehended the economic arguments to invest in increasingly expensive new medical technologies because it will ultimately result in less expense purchase prices for technologies delivering true value. However, I do believe the concept of episode-based pricing and packages-of-care pricing have merit. I just cannot accept such might be implemented without the predictive modeling capacity to forecast impact. (Must be the conservative CFO in me)

So……ala Healthcare 2.0., what do you think? Come on! Be a “joiner” and “critic” (or even “creator”), just don’t lurk!

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About Author

Rick Ingraham

Principal Industry Consultant

Rick has served as Health Intelligence Officer within SAS Federal, LLC since April 2011. He presents 20+ years of executive-level health experience in both the provider and payer settings and served SAS as senior healthcare strategist for 1998 to 2008. He served as global health & life sciences director within Teradata until rejoining SAS in 2011

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