How to Improve Healthcare

Outcomes, Innovation, and Collaboration

Powerful trends today are dramatically changing the healthcare landscape around the globe, creating a new environment for patients, providers, and other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem. The global population is expanding and aging, with each factor increasing the need for healthcare. And as lifespans continue to increase, the incidence of chronic diseases (such as heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental illness) will also rise. At the same time, incredible advances in science and technology are driving a surge of healthcare innovation, something that will not only transform lives, but also raise societal expectations and demand for cutting-edge healthcare services.

Current health systems, however, have not yet evolved to meet these challenges. Today’s healthcare delivery model looks much as it did in the 1950s: big hospitals that primarily focus on providing expensive, reactive care to treat people with acute sickness. With more people living longer and diseases shifting to long-term, chronic conditions, this model is not sustainable.

So a new system is needed, one in which pharmaceutical companies, payers, regulators, and governments are incentivized to work together to eliminate waste and improve the quality and efficiency of care. A healthcare system that focuses narrowly on isolated costs will not be able to reward innovative delivery models, medicines, and devices that make a real difference. We need to shift from a siloed system to an integrated one in which all parties are jointly accountable for achieving a shared objective: a positive outcome for the patient. This can be done, but it will require courageous leadership, a fundamental change in how we keep people healthy, and a focus on financial sustainability. Leaders across all sectors will need to incentivize outcomes, embrace innovation, and improve collaboration.

An art handler places pills for the art installation by British artist Damien Hirst in the new Brandhorst modern art museum in Munich, May 6, 2009.

An art handler places pills for the art installation by British artist Damien Hirst in the new Brandhorst modern art museum in Munich, May 6, 2009.

CONCENTRATE ON OUTCOMES

In today’s financially strapped healthcare environment, it is crucial to agree on appropriate desired outcomes for

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