by Dylon MacEachran, MBA, VP Marketing and Communications

The Becker’s Annual Meeting is an event that brings together strategic thinkers and seasoned leaders and colleagues from health systems, large and small. It gathers the most influential, important, and busiest people in healthcare to share what one attendee called “intellectual capital.” There is incredible value when they invest their time to engage with colleagues to discuss challenges and problem-solving in healthcare.

Three valuable themes from this year’s meeting:

  1. Collective challenges affecting our healthcare delivery community aren’t going away.
    All health systems and hospitals continue to struggle with post-COVID threats. From staffing shortages to access and equitable care delivery, these issues will not abate. However, many speakers shared ideas that succeeded, and there was also great transparency around approaches that didn’t work, so we can apply key learnings. During COVID, health systems became public health delivery systems, and, although that was needed, these acute-care settings were less than prepared for this and shouldn’t have to sustain it. Many also noted that we are never going back to pre-COVID times, so we must end healthcare fragmentation. It is time to create an ecosystem that will allow for better health care for the public—and not just sick care. Hospitals need to be part of a broader public health model rather than a sole provider.
  1. Working together. It’s going to take a village—a constellation of strong partnerships.
    The goal is building a better health ecosystem that meets patients where they are. Health systems will need new types of partnerships which involve significant levels of trust, shared missions, and combining expertise to deliver care to the health system’s patients, especially outside of the hospital setting. Hospitals and health systems must accept the idea that they can’t do it all alone. They must find partners that can address complex health issues that go beyond their acute care expertise. As an example, during a breakout session, Banner President and COO Amy Perry said, “When you partner, partner with people that have expertise that you don’t.” Hospitals are great at acute care, but she noted how Atlas Healthcare Partners worked with them to build a viable ASC program, which has resulted in growth from eight to 27 centers in four years, establishing a profitable ASC networkThis shows how one system is building an infrastructure external to their core business yet still interconnected and able to care for patients. Other examples can be partnering with a lab or a local community organization that offers wellness services. This is how we create integrated healthcare ecosystems prepared to help communities remain as healthy as possible—and ensuring the care of patients comes from the health system.
  1. Choosing which disruptors are good for your system.
    While partnerships were discussed as a key component to driving growth for health systems, it was noted that not all partners are created equal. Many leaders discussed how a “mission crosswalk” was critical to beginning any partnership discussion. It was also noted that transparency between partners is a critical component to successful outcomes in establishing health system care in ambulatory and community spaces.

Healthcare never remains static. We must continue these C-suite level conversations around disruption and innovation–two constants in the industry. These exchanges allow us to learn new ideas that can enhance operational efficiency, address financial concerns, and improve what we deliver to our communities, providers, and patients.