While Central Florida’s health care industry seems to be strong, local hospital CEOs, presidents and other industry leaders have varied concerns at the top of their minds.
For starters, fragmentation. “It’s rare to see a patient who hasn’t already been to three other places,” said Bernadette Spong, chief financial officer of Orlando Health. “It’s difficult when these patients show up with no data or records.”
Spong and eight other local health care leaders joined Orlando Business Journal’s roundtable discussion on May 9 to share insight on the future of the industry and what challenges lie ahead.
“To be a consumer you have to interact with many different businesses for the totality of your health care experience,” said Daryl Tol, Florida Hospital Orlando CEO. “Technology is connecting some experiences, but health care still is very disconnected. We need to create something that a consumer can navigate health care step-by-step easily. We’re a long way from that.”
Meanwhile, not so far away is the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which can be a game changer, said Nemours Children’s Hospital President Dana Bledsoe. “Who wins really can impact what the health care model looks like. One will stay the course, and one thinks a different model would be the way to go. There really is a total unknown.”
Other health care concerns that hit close to home are the estimated 900,000 Floridians who do not have health insurance. Additionally, there’s a concern with people who do have insurance but are not proactive with their health. “No one can solve the problem that individuals have to take care of their own health,” said Kenneth Peach, executive director of the Health Council of East Central Florida. “We can provide services, but somehow we have to figure out how to change individuals’ behavior.”
Another layer of that is cost: “How can a consumer navigate health care if they don’t know what it costs?” said Brenda Holson, president of the Orange County Medical Society.
These and other concerns are just some of the areas where Central Florida’s health care leaders will focus their efforts moving forward. See Pages 26-27 for more of their insights into future projections of the industry and what transformative things are happening now.
Meet the panel
Dana Bledsoe, president, Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando
Brent Burish, CEO, St. Cloud Regional Medical Center
Brenda Holson, president, Orange County Medical Society
John Moore, president, South Lake Hospital
Kenneth Peach, executive director, Health Council of East Central Florida
Steven Smith, scientific director, Florida Hospital-Sanford Burnham Translational Research Institute
Bernadette Spong, chief financial officer, Orlando Health
Daryl Tol, CEO, Florida Hospital Orlando
Karen van Caulil, CEO, Florida Health Care Coalition
2016 Health Care Roundtable: What innovations or new things do you expect to be transformative in health care?
Dana Bledsoe: Our latest example is Nemours CareConnect. It’s an app that allows 24/7 access to a Nemours pediatrician. Users can select who they want to see, their biographies and select the language they want to speak. It’s a more service-oriented, real-time approach. That’s an area where we’ll continue to advance. Our population now is largely millennial parents and that’s how they want to receive their care.
Steven Smith: There’s a lot of innovation happening behind the curtain, like information technology systems that aren’t always seen by the patient. It’s important for us to get every little bit as efficient and streamlined as possible. It’s hard, but it’s necessary work. So many of our innovative initiatives will be centered around squeezing out waste and pushing efficiency, and they won’t be seen by the public.
Karen van Caulil: We’re keeping our eyes on a drug delivery system. It’s a small device that’s put right under the skin. It delivers medication at a steady pace for up to a year. Diabetes is a big issue for employers, and this tool would take away the problem of the non-adherence of taking medication. This technology presents a new option for managing chronic issues.
Bernadette Spong: We’re one of the last industries to grasp big data. We’re a long ways away from being able to analyze it the way other industries do. But with big data, and we have lots of strong data, we can figure out how to fix some of the broken parts of health care.
Kenneth Peach: The whole direct primary care model, where you pay $50-$75 a month, seems to be taking off in other parts of the country. We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg here. You’ll see that grow.
2016 Health Care Roundtable: Why are we seeing the development of more freestanding ers?
John Moore: South Lake Hospital has one in development right now. We see it as an access point. We look at it more for the future, like if a hospital or full integrated campus would make sense. We look at it more as going into underserved markets as the beginning of a new campus.
Kenneth Peach: We know these campuses are going to go to places based on projections of population. It puts care closer to consumers. Just look at Interstate 4. We see an improved response when facilities are closer to communities.
Daryl Tol: There’s a movement toward more ambulatory access points. Patients don’t need to go to large campuses for everyday health care needs. In an era of consumer choice, we can’t just assume people are going to follow our map to our towers. Freestanding ERs save lives because they are closer to people. Often they do go into low access areas and can be the first step in getting new hospitals.
Karen van Caulil: We’ve been looking at data of these as it comes in. We’re concerned that we have to step up educational efforts. We’re probably going to put out a report in the next few months about it. We’re concerned about delay of treatment and people seeking care at these when they should go to an urgent care center. We’re looking at cost, quality and safety, and what the appropriate uses are. We need to educate our employees and consumers. It’s very hard to get folks to understand how to navigate health care.