It was a great pleasure seeing so many of the Hospital executives we know at the American Hospital Association Leadership Summit in San Francisco last week. For those of you who were not able to make it, we thought it would be helpful to provide some of the highlights and our take of the meeting. We are sure to go back next year, and the year after that and we’d be happy to talk with you further if you are interested in going.
The week was highlighted by the keynote addresses which carried some common themes. Atul Gawande, MD, noted surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and author of influential books such as “The Checklist Manifesto”, kicked off the meetings. His humble, poignant talk focused on the incredible, and many times frustrating, progress of healthcare.
Dr. Gawande moved the audience with the story of his own child, born with a heart defect, unknown for some time. His son was able to have surgery and recover, but due to damage caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, doctors expected he would not be able to finish high school. Dr. Gawande was thankful his son was born in today’s world. He gave an update that his son was now 20 and an A- student in college. As a parent of two daughters, both born quite pre-mature, I was extremely touched – both my wife and I comment often on how thankful we are that our daughters were born in 2008, 2009 and not 50 years ago.
Dr. Gawande drove the point home that caring for the whole patient, not just when a surgery or an episode is done, is how we improve healthcare. We need to treat all individuals, like individuals, and respect them and understand them deeply. Because his team of professionals worked together to help his son over two decades, he knows his outcome is higher than it could ever be. Technology was a key factor, no doubt, and teamwork took the outcome to the next level.
We also saw talks by Michael Porter, the brilliant Harvard Business School scholar on competition, Michael Lewis, author of “Money Ball” (no – Brad Pitt nor Sandra Bullock made an appearance) and author of “Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies” Siddhartha Mukherjee (just made into a documentary by Ken Burns). The common themes throughout were that healthcare is changing, and changing rapidly; we must focus on appropriate teams to drive up outcomes and drive down costs; and finally, we must treat take our American spirit of the strong sense of the individual, and work with each person in a respectful and dignified tone. This is hard work and important work and changes lives dramatically.
CEO’s from across the country attended the meetings. I personally had a chance to talk with many of them and gain their insights. They are challenged with many forces from ACA, to technology costs, to an aging, higher cost population. Yet, you could feel optimism throughout the rooms of delivering higher value to the ultimate end customer – the patient. Everyone truly wants to make a difference in people’s lives, and find the most effective way to do so. I talked with Dr. Gawande after he spoke and he expressed his optimism because there is demonstrated passion by everyone in healthcare to make changes for the better.
I hope you enjoy this newsletter with some of Mobile Aspects’ takes on the event. We only decided two days ago to put out this newsletter, and scrambled to put our thoughts together. As a Company focused on providing business value to hospitals, we felt the key themes and the spirit of the meetings were too important not to share. We appreciate you taking any time out of your busy day to read what we thought was important, and trust this newsletter provides value in some way.
My best regards as always,
CEO, Mobile Aspects, Inc.