Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Online Healthcare Innovation Forum:  Will Digital Disruption Turn the Healthcare Power Structure Upside Down?
Is the age of the big corporation over?  Mr. McQuivey’s argument is that digital tools now exist that allow almost anyone to become a disruptive innovator.
Review of Digital Disruption, by James McQuivey, Amazon, 171 pages, $24.95, 2013

The groundswell is: A social trend in which  people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions.

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff,  The Groundswell: Winning int a World  Transformed by Social Technologies, Harvard University Press, Amazon, 286 pages, $16.38, 2008
I shall discuss the struggle now going on for control of health care.  The struggle is mainly between the management of corporations and physicians.  It is a struggle for power.
Richard Reece, And Who Shall Care for the Sick? The Corporate Transformation of Medicine in Minnesota, Amazon, new $74.96, used, $1.99, 278 pages, 1988
Lately a series of books – The Innovator’s Dilemma,  Groundwell,  Disruptive Disruption, and The End or Power – with the same theme have appeared.  
That theme is that digital disruptions have turned the world upside down and will  end the  power structure as we know it.  Kodak has gone bankrupt; newspapers and  print books  are becoming things of the past; shoppers  are buying  online rather than in retail outlets; and health consumers are getting their information online rather than from doctors, hospital, health plans,  and government.
Will  instantaneous communication  end the power of  government,  health plans,  hospitals,  physicians, and health care suppliers,  and turn that power over to universally connected consumers? 
This is a question worth pondering.  
First,  I don’t doubt the digital revolution is transforming medicine and healthcare.   Hospitals and doctors are being judged and paid on the basis of Big Data.  Every doctor and every hospitals is being rewarded and paid  for installing “interoperable” data systems.  Government  is unleashing the Net to overhaul  health care.
Second, I doubt that the digital revolution will end the power structure as we know it.   Healthcare corporations  can employ digital disruption to defend their turf.  Corporations can create “innovation teams”to  identify disruptive opportunities.
Third,  I believe  digital disruptions will create opportunities  for consumers, physicians, and small businesses.   They can become disruptive innovators  and power-brokers  in their own right. 
·         Consumers can now own their own health savings accounts,  bypassing HMOs and PPOs and shopping for affordable  health care based on information gleaned from the Internet. Consumers can refuse to patronize practices who do not communicate electronically adn whose prices are not competitive.  
·         Physicians can go around 3rd parties by returning to cash-only and concierge practices, slashing their overhead, and using mobile digital tools that allow them remain small and efficient. 
·          Hospitals can decentralize  their operations and remain small by collaborating virtually with doctors.  Using their team-based administrative  and digital  skills, hospitals  can monitor care from a distance and market the latest in robotic and advanced innovative medical advances.
·         Businesses can self-insure and reduce full-time employees to part-time workers to avoid electronic health exchanges  and Obamacare's costly  and restrictive provisions.

Tweet:  Digital disruptions will change how consumers,  hospitals, and doctors do business and will empower consumers to get what they want.

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