Why is Innovative Leadership needed in Healthcare?

Healthcare has been a slightly confusing industry and it has made tremendous clinical advances with rapid advancements of treatments, medications and diagnostics.

These advancements require significant time to time investments and risk-taking capability by the companies and the clinicians. But from a management viewpoint, healthcare has been symbolised by risk-averse practices focused on avoiding errors rather than making advancements.

This risk aversion has been enabled by the comparatively mature and stable business of healthcare. This stability is being altered by significant changes which are creating great uncertainty. The two important types of uncertainty faced by most industries are technical and demand. It has been seen that Healthcare has had a relatively certain level of demand for decades while there have been moderately increased levels of technical uncertainty compared to other industries.

There is an increasing consumer expectation which is going to drastically increase the uncertainty of demand in the coming years, new sections of care are opening in various settings, for example, drug stores, fitness centres, and online with a push to meet consumer preferences for convenience and 24×7 access for non-urgent needs.

The aim is to basically transform preventive and ambulatory services which will in turn significantly decrease inpatient volumes. But the point is how and at what speed remains the questions to most of the health systems which have carefully transited to value-based care.

Previously Healthcare leaders who have succeeded in this environment have been able to do so because they were good planners who got things done on time and within budget, they had been careful and efficient and had tried to keep as many stakeholders happy as possible. With this kind of significant change initiated in healthcare and with high demand uncertainty, the key is to be careful and avoid mistakes, but the process can be riskier as we are not experimenting and taking chances.

There will always be a need for traditional management to manage some parts of the healthcare business that are relatively stable, however, new growth of innovative leaders will be needed to build parts of the organization that will become the new growth engines in a value-based healthcare world.

And this need for innovation will continue beyond the clinical aspects of healthcare also to include supply chain, revenue cycle, HR, facility planning, and design amongst others. Innovative approaches to support the rapidly changing clinical side of the business will be very much needed.

These innovators need to have a vision, get all the stakeholders on board, do thorough research and identify customer needs and new ways of working, prototyping, failing, learning, and again build new services and business models which are suited to the changing environment. The correct answers will address more than just the functional needs of patients, but it will also address their social and emotional needs.

The skills and knowledge at times that are needed for success may not currently exist in the organizations, but they must pull from payers, public sector, high tech, big pharma, start-ups, and other sectors. It is necessary to identify the necessary features, findings and recruiting the right people, and orienting them to the organization will be a challenge.

So, if you want to be successful in the value-based world, the leaders need to understand the various sources of data and conclude out ways how to integrate them for operational and analytic purposes so they can be appropriately leveraged. Currently, the data in sales and these innovators need to understand the different pieces and how to link them together.

Finally, the new innovative leaders need to understand their primary customer, that is the power shift from physicians as a hospital’s main customer to the patient and their family. This will require a consumer-minded approach that will only focus on the whole patient experience within the hospital and ahead. To build and maintain an engaged relationship with patients and their families will require new tools and technologies that are minimally used by the organizations today.

By Mr. Gaurav Malhotra, Medicover Fertility (Managing Director India)