July 31, 2020
Envisioning the future of health system strategy
We’ve been working with our health system members to develop a perspective on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on strategy, discussing what’s changed and what hasn’t, and where leaders should focus moving forward. The below graphic provides an overview of that perspective. We think about the future across three time periods: the “near future”, which will largely be dominated by concerns about reopening and recovering clinical operations and financial stability; the “next future”, which we view as a period of strategic realignment during which we’ll see a “land grab” for advantage among payers, providers, and disruptors; and the “far future”, in which the fundamental structure of the industry—how healthcare is organized, delivered, and paid for—will see more dramatic changes based on the evolution of economic and policy drivers.Over time, “market uncertainty” caused by the uncertain course of the disease itself, along with societal and political shifts, will give way to “industry uncertainty”, under which a new competitive landscape will begin to develop. Across those time horizons, health system strategy should focus on agile and decisive actions to respond to the environment—ensuring a safe and reliable return to normal clinical operations, taking best advantage of the opportunity to play new roles in the delivery of care (e.g., virtual and home-based services), and over time, building a full-scale, consumer-centric care ecosystem. That’s a lot of rhetoric, but the hard work lies beneath—requiring systems to execute on several key fronts, from ensuring efficient, “systematized” operations, to building sustainable payment and pricing approaches, to adopting a relentless focus on services that earn and maintain consumer loyalty over time. What’s clear now is that we’re not going back to the old way of doing things—we’re heading toward a “brave new world” of healthcare delivery.