So far in this series has looked at HITECH participation by hospitals (grumbling but in the game) and physicians (wary, on the sidelines), kudos for ONC’s three major policy points, and how HITECH is already moving the needle on the vendor side. Today we’re going to look at the reason the whole system exists: patients.
It’s possible to look at the patients issue from a moral or ethical perspective, or from a business planner’s ecosystem perspective. In this post we’ll simply look at it pragmatically: is our approach going to work? It’s our thesis that although you won’t see it written anywhere, the stage is being set for a kind of disruption that’s in no healthcare book: patient-driven disruptive innovation.
We’ll assert that in all our good thinking, we’ve shined the flashlight at the wrong place. Sure, we all read the book (or parts), and we talk about disruption – within a dysfunctional system.
If you believe a complex system’s actual built-in goals are revealed by its actual behavior, then it’s clear the consumer’s not at the core of healthcare’s feedback loops. What if they were?
We assert that to disrupt within a non-working system is to bark up a pointless tree: even if you win, you haven’t altered what matters. Business planners and policy people who do this will miss the mark. Here’s what we see when we step back and look anew from the consumer’s view:
- We’ve been disrupting on the wrong channel.
- It’s about the consumer’s appetite.
- Patient as platform:
- Doc Searls was right
- Lean says data should travel with the “job.”
- “Nothing about me without me.”
- Raw Data Now: Give us the information and the game changes.
- HITECH begins to enable patient-driven disruptive innovation.
- Let’s see patient-driven disruption. Our data will be the fuel.
1. We’ve been disrupting on the wrong channel.
The disruptive innovation we’ve been talking about doesn’t begin to go far enough. It’s a rearrangement of today’s business practices, but that’s not consumer-driven. Many pundits, e.g. the ever-popular Jay Parkinson, note that today’s economic buyer isn’t the consumer, which is screamingly obvious because consumer value isn’t improving as time goes by.
When we as patients get our hands on our information, and when innovators get their hands on medical data, things will change. Remember that “we as patients” includes you yes you, when your time comes and the fan hits your family. This is about you being locked in, or you getting what you want.
I (Dave) witnessed this in my first career (typesetting machines) when desktop publishing came along. We machine vendors were experts at our craft, but desktop publishing let consumers go around us, creating their own data with PageMaker, Macs and PostScript. Once that new ecosystem existed, other innovators jumped in, and the world as we knew it ended.
(Here’s a tip from those years: this outcome is inevitable. Ride with it, participate in it, be an active participant, and you can “thrive and survive.” Resist and within a generation you’ll be washed away.)