Perspectives on US Healthcare: Panel with Gov. Michael Leavitt

Tom Zimmerman

“This industry is going to see dramatic change—that is exciting.

And Information technology has the biggest growth prospects in healthcare.”

Those were the thoughts of John Dineen, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, making comments at the 2014 Centricity Live conference in Denver this morning. Dineen joined a panel discussion with Michael Leavitt, former Secretary of Health and Human Services and three-time Governor of Utah. Bill Ruh, VP of GE Global Software, also joined the discussion that was moderated by Esther Dyson.

The three panelists touched on a range of topics that resonated with the audience of hospital executives and departmental administrators.

Among their insights:

  • Expect to see more consumer-based decision making. People are shopping and want to understand value. There will continue to be more transparency and more focus on customer satisfaction.
  • The device industry is looking for ways to better connect assets and help healthcare providers to manage costs. But It’s not just about better technology…it’s about enhanced outcomes, and interoperable IT tools and applications are key.

Governor Leavitt suggested that certain questions be considered by all participants going forward:

  • Who is bearing the risk of healthcare and who is paying for it?
  • Who is distributing it?
  • What is the transition timing for ACA-related change, 2 years or a decade?
  • What is going to happen next—political, regulatory, consumer—and how should we prepare to respond?

Governor Leavitt asked, “How do we muster the collective IQ to accomplish this? That may be the most daunting challenge of all.”

Bill Ruh added these key themes related to leveraging the cloud as part of future productivity and efficiency initiatives:

  1. Cloud technology is about trying to drive speed. It’s flexible, allows for change, and lets you experiment while moving forward.
  2. The regulatory environment requires quality, which helps temper any move to pure speed.
  3. Cyber security is different from data protection as we know it. It’s concerned with how to protect enterprise systems in a boundary-less environment.

Dineen drew smiles from the crowd with one of his final comments. He noted that healthcare will continue to seek additional productivity, and that will require information technology. “The people in this room are going to be very, very busy!”

In his closing comments, Governor Leavitt observed that collaboration is the sociology of the challenge—and we need more people who can do that well.

And finally, Ruh looked out 10 years from now to predict that those who have invested in integrated care solutions will have evolved their business model. “They’ll have not just data, but analytics that support their decision making.”

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