Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller's Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on strategy, operations, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – February 27, 2012

In a recent discussion I had with some colleagues from around the world, we realized that many of the challenges we have in our healthcare systems were the same. The group represented people from both publicly and privately funded healthcare models and covered people from North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Here's what we discovered as the common healthcare challenges we all face and my thoughts on solutions:

A reactive healthcare system

Each of our healthcare systems was very reactive in the way that services were being delivered. New services would be developed only once a need had arisen, but little effort was spent trying to anticipate the future needs of patients in order to better serve them. This is most evident in the fact that governments focus on treatment of disease and other medical issues more than they focus on their prevention.
 
Solution: Look at different models of care and engage patients more to determine not only what they need now, but what they will need in the future.

An inefficient healthcare system

Many of the healthcare systems we discussed have old and antiquated technology platforms. In a world where the electronic transfer of health records is paramount to patient treatment, this was very surprising. Many countries have stifled innovation with medical technology. Often, strict procurement processes and a focus on lowering costs dictated the way technology was purchased. This not only stifles innovation for leading edge technologies, it also discourages some companies from even participating in the marketplace for fear of being commoditized.
 
Solution:  Provide different options for different types of purchases. For products and services that should not be commoditized, encourage a process of collaboration between healthcare providers and their suppliers that focuses on the best solution for the provider.

A poorly integrated system

Hospital resources are strained and performance suffers, yet the integration of varying levels of care is still done poorly. We don't always remember to address issues from the patient's perspective and once they are discharged from hospital, what support system are we providing them? The communication between family doctor and patient is often broken (the doctor speaks in terms the patient doesn't understand and the patient is afraid to ask for clarification) and patients don't know where to turn for help. The result is that they go back to the hospital, often unnecessarily.
 
Solution:  Governments should provide incentives for regional providers to get together to share information and make the transfer of patients and their information seamless. Think of a health authority where home care, hospital care, and clinical care was fully integrated with the patient at the centre of the model.

A complex system

Of course a subject as large as healthcare is going to be complex, but that doesn't mean it has to be unclear. There are major issues around lack of clarity of healthcare legislation, misunderstandings about how the system will be sustainable through current funding models and the issue of the aging demographic within our societies. These are important issues that politicians aren't tackling adequately enough.
 
Solution:  We need to look for a model where smaller specialty clinics can take some of the pressure off of hospitals. We also need to align legislation with the concept of patient-centred care, so every decision made is in the best interest of patients and the healthcare system as a whole, not just focused on lowering costs.
 

Since we are all facing the same issues, why are we not collaborating more? Why are we not engaging industry and patients on a global scale to help resolve these challenges and turn them into opportunities? Because we are too busy cleaning up our own backyard to see how beneficial that collaboration would be. We should be looking at initiatives that are working successfully and build on them. Only then will we see a sustainable and improving healthcare system.

 
To request an interview or more information, please contact:


Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2012.

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller
Andrew MillerMiller's Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on strategy, operations, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – February 20, 2012 – The meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin as the starting point guard for the New York Knicks has been nothing short of amazing. As an undrafted basketball player out of Harvard, Lin had never played more than 20 minutes in a NBA game before two weeks ago. All of the sudden, the Knicks can't lose and Lin is playing unbelievably well. 'Linsanity' people are calling it. No one anticipated this would happen. Lin was initially inserted into the starting lineup because the Knicks were decimated by injuries. The coaching staff always knew he had potential, but it was a result of injuries that got him his chance. Do you have a Jeremy Lin in your organization? Someone who has had all of the right training and education, all of the right potential, but is just waiting in the wings for their chance at success? Have you given them that chance? You should always be looking for ways to give these employees an opportunity to live up to their potential. Lin waited patiently for his chance, and now he is taking advantage of it. Who knows how long it will last, but who cares? The Knicks have won every game Lin has started. How would that success translate in your organization-A new customer? A larger deal? An innovative new product offering? Find your Jeremy Lin, take a chance and see what they can do. Only then can you truly know how much talent they really have.
 
To request an interview or more information, please contact:


Andrew Miller
416-480-1336
 
Follow me on Twitter @AndrewMillerACM
© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2012.

What Kind of Experience are You Creating?

Last week, I spent a wonderful three days at the Delano Beach Hotel in Miami. I had been there before, but never as a guest. It was like no hotel I have ever stayed in. Aside from the constantly bumping dance music in the background (that just forces you to shake your tailfeathers) that seemed to get louder as the day got on, the thing that struck me most was that I have never seen so many beautiful people work in one place. But they weren't just beautiful, they were friendly. These two traits don't always coexist. Whether it was the attractive staff who open the doors for you every time you walk in and out of the pool area, the lovely waitresses by the pool who take your drink orders, or the stunning beauties who supply you with towels at the pool, they were always smiling, warm and inviting. The room staff always left a fresh apple in my room and everyone was eager to please the guests.

What kind of experience are you creating for your customers? It was a pleasure walking through a hotel where not only are the staff nice to look at, but they are nice to be around. In one of the trendiest hotels in an area known for seemingly superficial values, I received one of the greatest customer experiences of my life. An environment that was warm and comforting, combined with leading edge and hip. It was something I will always remember and I will definitely be returning to the Delano. Hopefully sooner than later. Are customers saying that about the experience that they have with you? If not, what changes are you going to make?

Is US healthcare becoming Canadian?

Is it possible that the US healthcare system is moving further and further towards the Canadian model of publicly funded healthcare for all? Look at the signs and we shall see. But let's be honest, Canada has a two-tier system. Those that want to (and can afford) to pay for private heatlhcare, can. We have Cleveland Clinic, Medcan, etc. This is a good thing. If you provide the option for people who can afford it, it will remove some people from the public system to reduce wait times for those that can't afford private care. More to come on this in the coming days….

The keys to a successful system implementation

For those organizations going throught the transformation of implementing a new system, here are a few things to consider in order to ensure success:

  1. Get users involved early and often
  2. Ensure you review the business processes
  3. Identify key implementation considerations, which could be challenges, roadblocks or even opportunities
  4. Have a strong project lead that can drive things forward
  5. Ensure you have the right mix of business sense and technical knowledge
  6. Identify who is most impacted by the new system and enlist them as ambassadors
  7. Do a phased go-live, not a big bang on the first day
  8. Prepare for issues, so have back-up processes at the ready
  9. Allow users to test real-life scenarios in the system before you go-live
  10. Develop different training modules based on different types of users

There are many more that I could list, but this is a very good starting point.