As illustrated in our special healthcare issue of Insigniam Quarterly, the disruptive forces burdening the global healthcare industry — from superfluous spending, outdated business models, and inefficiencies in the delivery of patient care — not only cost unneeded billions of dollars, but also hundreds of thousands of lives per year.
According to Forbes, “over 200,000 preventable patient deaths occur in U.S. hospitals every year from medical errors and hospital acquired infections.” Even more alarming, The New York Times, in referencing a study by The Journal of Patient Safety1, estimates that number is much higher; “around 440,000 per year [equating to] one-sixth of all deaths nationally, making preventable hospital error the third leading cause of death in the United States.”
To describe this epidemic as a “crisis” would be an understatement and, furthermore, the remedy is far from simple. However, a measured, multivariate approach — one that must include coordination from the highest levels of the healthcare leadership strata — is the critical first step to reversing this alarming trend. Additionally, to fix what plagues the industry at it’s core will require a systematic embrace of transformational leadership as a means to transition from a system that merely treats the ill to a highly-efficient, less bureaucratic, beacon of preventative care.
Fortunately, the path to making this a reality is not shrouded in mystery. At IQ, we believe the formula requires a tenacious dedication to innovation — which is today’s critical objective — as well as leveraging new technology, and at the most foundational level, the need to reinvent the patient experience.
Transformational leadership requires stepping out of the prevailing mindset, culture, systems, and practices. Only with this type of enterprise reinvention can we eliminate the redundancies, errors, and oversights that cost so many lives annually.
The question, especially for those driving the global healthcare industry forward, is this: When will enough money have been wasted, and enough lives lost, to necessitate transformational change? Quite simply, for those who don’t alter their thinking and practices, tomorrow may never come.
1. Journal of Patient Safety: September 2013 – Volume 9 – Issue 3 – p 122–128.