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IBM Calls on Healthcare Providers to Forge New Delivery Models That Redefine Value and Engage Consumers


Vision Statement Calls for Collaboration to Achieve New Milestones in Defining, Measuring and Delivering Value Across National and Global Healthcare Systems

ARMONK, NY - Jun 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today released the latest in its series of “Healthcare 2015” vision statements, looking forward to redefine healthcare delivery models of the future and the competencies that will be required from them. In the study, entitled, Healthcare 2015 and care delivery: Delivery models refined, competencies defined, the company also called on U.S. and international health systems to collaborate in achieving such new milestones in defining, measuring and delivering healthcare value, activating citizen-consumers who will become increasingly responsible for their own healthcare, and promoting improved health promotion and care delivery in the face of a growing litamy challenges.

Placing a spotlight directly on the driving forces that are challenging existing healthcare delivery systems -- these include globalization, consumerism, changing demographics and lifestyles, diseases that are more expensive to treat, the proliferation of medical technologies and treatments, financial constraints, resource shortages, increasingly unrealistic societal expectations and norms, and an absence of information systems, among others -- IBM stated that the only cure for health systems around the world is a fundamental transformation of healthcare.

In the near term, however, the study said such critical transformation will be frustrated by a series of near-term adjustments that will fall far short of the ultimate goal:

Piecemeal, incremental approaches to healthcare change, sometimes with poor results and unintended consequences
A struggle to seek a viable balance in public and private healthcare spending
An increasing portion of health-related financial responsibility transferred to individual citizens
The emergence of new and non-traditional local and global competitors and collaborators
A proliferation of health promotion and care-delivery models and capabilities.
“Historically, care-delivery organizations (CDOs) could declare broad and abstract targets or even attempt to be ’all things to all citizens’ and still compete effectively,” said Jim Adams, Executive Director, IBM Center for Healthcare Management. “But in the future, we believe it will be harder to maintain an undifferentiated service-delivery model, whether it be a public or private healthcare system model.”

Instead, Adams said the increasing focus on value, the rising need to activate responsible citizens, and the changing requirements of health promotion and care delivery will force many CDOs to adopt and develop service delivery models with new and sharper strategic focus. Regardless of their chosen service delivery models, IBM predicts that CDOs will also require a core set of enhanced and expanded competencies.

At present, IBM notes that most CDOs already fit into one or more of four generic service delivery models:

Community health networks, focusing on optimizing access across a defined geography
Centers of excellence, focusing on optimizing clinical quality and safety for specific medical conditions
Medical concierges, focusing on optimizing the citizen/patient experience and relationship
Price leaders, focusing on optimizing productivity and workflow.
However, as demands on care providers shift, IBM predicts that the models for promoting health and delivering care will follow suit. CDOs and clinicians will need to develop or improve a set of underlying competencies to successfully implement the service delivery models. The new study recommends five such strategic competencies: Empowering and activating consumer-citizens; collaborating and integrating; innovating; optimizing operational efficiencies; and enabling these through information technology.

The study closes by offering a course of action for CDOs:

Fully recognize the need for and help to shape a more patient-centric, value-based, accountable, affordable and sustainable healthcare system
Identify the service delivery models and competencies needed to prosper in the new order
Assess their readiness in the competencies needed to implement the new or redefined service-delivery models
Develop and execute plans to transition to the new delivery models and develop new competencies required to support them.
“Status quo is not an option or healthcare systems in the U.S. and many other countries,” said Dan Pelino, General Manager of IBM’s Global Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry. “Ultimately, the transformation of healthcare systems will require commitment and follow-through on coordinated, collaborative efforts among key stakeholders, particularly CDOs and clinicians at the epicenter of efforts to create more value-focused healthcare.”

IBM’s new study is an extension of Healthcare 2015: Win-Win or Lose-Lose, which was the company’s original work detailing the broad case for healthcare system transformation. It was published in October 2006. Another study, Healthcare 2015 and U.S. Health Plans: New roles, new competencies, published last September, presented a forward-looking view of required transformation in the Health Benefits segment.


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