How to Build a Better Health Care System

I have many clients in the healthcare sector and have worked in it for years…there need to be some serious changes in the current model in order to keep it sustainable. Costs are going through the roof, it is hard to attract outside talent and money is being spent, and sometimes wasted, unnecessarily. There is no shortage of talented people in the industry, nurses are some of the most amazing people I have ever met, researchers trying to find ways to help people before they get sick, physicians helping them once they get sick…it is not a people problem, it is an institutional problem.

It seems like every initiative across the healthcare system takes too long and costs too much money. Hospitals have too many other organizations that are either providing them direction or trying to help them run more efficiently. Let's take Ontario for example. We all know the eHealth mess to try and get electronic medical health records and the rollout of a common IT platform has not even been discussed. A typical Ontario hospital has its own senior management team and board of directors to develop strategy and execute. There is also influence by major donors who want to help shape the direction of the organization. There is then, of course, the government who provides the majority of the funding to run the hospitals. Hospitals are also part of a LHIN (local health integration network) to whom they are accountable for certain things. Most hospitals are also members of a shared service centre that is responsible for providing supply chain support for backend activities and they are part of a GPO (group purchasing organization) to help them with tactical buying and managing contracts. I have not even mentioned all of the different associations, groups, organizations, etc. in which hospital employees participate. You can see why it is difficult to get anything done in the healthcare sector, there are too many cooks in the kitchen.

Hospitals should only have to focus on two objectives: helping patients get healthy and raising awareness for prevention. Stick-handling through bureaucracy and trying to figure out who holds the puppet strings are not productive uses of anyone's time. Especially those that are tasked with making society healthy.


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