Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Vision Needed: Creative Entrepreneurially Driven Technologies Can Improve Health Care

Clearly our health care sector has lagged behind all others in using leading edge technologies to improve operations- vested interests have really not worried too much about costs; these were just passed on to consumers, directly and indirectly. But new tools and technologies are rapidly emerging in the health care sector and these are driven by emerging entrepreneurial firms rather than the traditional major players. No surprise here- statistics show more than 95 percent of all radical technology innovation in the past 60 years has been developed by SMEs (small medium enterprises) not major corporations as you might expect.   
Bolder options are needed now to address today’s health care problems – the prescription: deploying new technology and capital on global best practices.
Let me share a vision on the possibilities. Suppose we create a new national eHealth program. Program objectives are to commit to use leading edge information and communications technology to improve patient safety, accessibility and quality of care; enable patient mobility nationally and internationally; meet the increasing demands from our citizens and healthcare professionals; and use eHealth as the main tool for renewal and improvement of our nation’s health care services.
We will use telemedicine and other technologies to support creative, cost effective new solutions to improve our health care system. Consider some possibilities: 
Your patient records are stored as secure Electronic Health Records or ‘EHRs’. Just like your secure on-line bank account transaction records, you can access this information, identify issues, alert your practitioners, and if needed, request your EHR be sent to another physician or

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Entrepreneurial Drivers in Health Care: Comments Posted on Intel Health Care Blog Feb 17, 2010

I posted the following comments on the Intel Health Care blog dealing with the topic Healthcare Reform: Too Big To Fail (Eric Dishman) and the need to seek new ways of approaching solutions here - my comments were published on Feb. 17, 2010.

Feb 17 | Paul B. Silverman said:

Let’s keep the discussion going here- good exchange of ideas.

We all know we have serious problems in our health care system and need some new thinking here. I am pleased to offer the following thoughts:

Most of our current health care debate starts with questions about what new applications can be developed using new technology, e.g., mobile apps, home telehealth, remote patient monitoring, WBAN’s, Zigbee, other wireless technologies and so on. But the real starting point should be what are primary and secondary business processes and key metrics that define our health care system. After this is defined, the secondary question is what is recommended process changes,what technology works best, what is cost benefit and ROI

The above is ‘Business Process Re-engineering 101’ – don’t be seduced by technology that is not driven by a strong business model that secures management support. We learned that lesson years ago with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and e-commerce promising to reduce cost for paper-based transactions. (I played a key role in C&L,, Booz Allen and also served as US CEO for a Netherlands based global management consulting company addressing these areas). Real savings came from changing business processes- many of the 100+ EDI technology companies that entered the market at that time missed the mark. I see many parallels with today’s health care technology market.

Consider hospital operating rooms which many do not know are a profit center within hospitals. Studies suggest these facilities today operate at less than 60 percent efficiency. Why? Changes or delays in patient admittance means facilities become available but this information is useless unless it can be managed, disseminated and acted upon to reschedule surgeries, identify the location of hospital assets and maximize use of resources. Imagine a hotel where a cancellation occurs and it takes hours to reschedule other customers to use the room. These problems occur in every sector today and are solved by robust, agile information systems driven by well proven business process re-engineering techniques. Think about the positive impact of a national initiative which offers incentives to modify processes for reducing total hospital costs by 5 percent, and this is a conservative target.

Many statistics confirm that other nations are doing a better job in efficiently delivering high quality health care services.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Entrepreneurial Management Seminars Starting May 2011

I frequently  receive requests to assist senior management in understanding today's market changes, new strategic directions and related strategy management issues. Looking at today's business environment, we can cite many examples - here are some perspectives I frequently share.
Today’s explosive Entrepreneurial Age is morphing markets, companies, technologies and industry sectors. Emerging companies are creating new businesses; traditional companies are holding on to survive, and today’s business thinking is challenged. Most struggle to understand what is happening and where we are heading.

Look at Dell, Microsoft, Home Depot, Apple, Amazon.com and Starbucks. All created new market sectors or dramatically reshaped existing ones. All launched as entrepreneurial ventures in the past thirty five years, some even started in a garage. 

Consider the Google revolution. Founded in 1998 by two Stanford university students, started as a basic search engine, ramped up sales to $22 billion in 2008, and achieved a market cap of about $96 billion in January 2009. Compare that to

Monday, November 16, 2009

Health Care Rx: New Technology and Creative New Ventures

In an October 11th interview, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D- Minnesota) noted we need to employ new technology to improve our health care system. In a letter I recently shared with the Senator, I emphasized that her comments were right on target and offered the following observations:
-- The health care sector has lagged behind all others in using leading edge technologies to improve operations- vested interests have really not worried too much about costs; these were just passed on to consumers, directly and indirectly.
-- We learned lessons years ago with the e-commerce revolution where companies replaced paper with electronic transactions. Moving from paper to electronic changes processes, creates new way of conducting business, and these are the real benefits. This point has been missed in much of today’s health care dialog.
-- U.S. hospitals are, by all measures, the most expensive in the world. About one-third of all private hospital expenses look like what you may expect in a hotel business – costs for check-in, room service, reservations, meals, cleaning and check out. Years ago I was involved in a major health care study which also reinforced the same points- not much has changed since. Hospital costs are the largest component of health care costs; administration and support costs are a major component of hospital costs- if we set the objective of reducing hospital costs by perhaps 5 percent and with proper incentives, we can achieve real measurable cost benefits. We are far behind the curve and should look at best practices elsewhere. In early 2009, I was invited to participate in an Israeli hospital management company which used Israeli logistics 'best practices' to optimize scheduling for all perioperative procedures to efficiently handle large patient volumes- these same new processes have excellent applications in US hospitals.