<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=443149619225659&ev=PageView&noscript=1"> Healthcare Needs a Moonshot

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Healthcare Needs a Moonshot

Healthcare Needs a Moonshot

Besides the act of launching a spacecraft to the moon, the Oxford dictionary defines a moonshot as, “an extremely ambitious and innovative project.”

That is exactly what healthcare needs now and why there has never been a more exciting time to be involved in healthcare. A technological groundwork has been laid over the past decade that will enable a pace and scale of innovation in this critical area of human endeavor that will eclipse anything that has come before it. And positive, capital “D” Disruption, is exactly what healthcare needs.

Like my father who worked on the the Lunar Module during the Apollo space program, I believe this is our moment to contribute to something much greater than ourselves. And I, more than many, have a very powerful, and personal, reason for pursuing this path in healthcare.

Before dismissing my exuberance, allow me to share some key observations coming out of a recent week spent attending two health conferences: the future-focused Dev4Health at Cleveland’s Global Center for Health Innovation and the more traditional IT-focused annual NC HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference in Charlotte.

Through these two divergent perspectives I’ve come to appreciate the unique and powerful forces at play in healthcare today. They are:

1. The underlying infrastructure is in place for innovation. EHR/EMR (Electronic Health/Medical Records) systems and the network connectivity required to support them have been massive decade-long investments that have finally reached maturity. Without these nothing is possible.

2. Interoperability standards are gaining widespread adoption. FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources; pronounced “Fire”), represents a new evolution in informatics standards. Utilizing modern-web technology and protocols, FHIR is poised to become the standard for data formats and APIs for electronic health records. This fills a critical need because next year all providers will have to openly document accessibility standards.

3. Payment models, and pressures, are changing. With healthcare reaching 18% of US GDP (that comes out to $3.3 Trillion, or more simply stated, $10,348 per person), there is growing demand, from the public and payers, for transparency and more cost-effective management of outcomes.

4. The white space for improvements is vast. Physicians and clinicians are facing burnout, digital engagement with patients has been lackluster, and administrative systems are Gordian knots of bureaucracy. Technology, employed correctly, with a user centered approach, can make a transformative difference on all these fronts.

Combine these elements with America’s aging demographics and a growing physician shortage and you get a sense of how important it is for us to innovate in healthcare.

Which brings me to the issue of why healthcare is so important to me. It's my son. While he is well on the way to a full recovery, earlier this year he spent two weeks in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.

Staying with him those weeks, watching all of the other patients and their families face their own unfolding dramas, and witnessing the commitment, passion, and professionalism of clinicians and staff amidst the myriad of challenges they faced, made me realize that there is no area of human activity that is as important (except for possibly education, but I’ll save that for later).  

We’ll be exploring these trends and the opportunities in healthcare in future posts.

So put on your helmets, strap in, and subscribe for future updates.  

Our destination is worlds away and the journey, to echo President Kennedy’s Apollo challenge, will be hard. 

To learn more, download our Tech Brief, "Four Digital Disruptors in Healthcare Integration" here.

4 Digital Disruptors in Healthcare Integration

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About the author

As Director of Digital Strategy, James helps Small Footprint’s clients embrace digital disruption by creating the best solutions for their company, their market, their employees, and their customers. Serving in a variety of roles, including Director of Digital Experience for a leading Ad agency and interim CEO of a startup, James has a track record of leading talented teams to create breakthrough products. He utilizes blue-sky thinking, a passionate empathy for the user, and an appreciation for data to identify unexpected opportunities to solve human problems with digital tools. His nearly 20 years of experience includes working with major brands such as Unilever/Tresemme, GoArmy.com, CSX, PepBoys, HondaJet, SunTrust and Volunteers of America.
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