Three giant waves of disruption are changing the U.S. healthcare industry, with the first, culminating in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and already having had a profound effect, according to Nicholas Webb, an author and futurist.
“Wave one, ‘Who’s going to pay for healthcare?’ lasted for 40 years,” Webb said. “I think the Affordable Care Act has answered that question.”
What’s left to do is a single-payer, national health insurance system, and that’s to follow, said Webb in a keynote address at the HFMA Annual Conference 2018.
“Wave two is the tipping point,” Webb said. Demographic changes, particularly the “silver tsunami” of aging Baby Boomers and the concurrent, “massive onslaught of obesity” will overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare delivery system—at least as we know it today.
According to the Census Bureau, in 2010, 13% of the U.S. population was age 65 and over, and that was expected to grow to 21%, or 74.1 million, by 2030.
“There is no way that is any way affordable” under existing healthcare delivery models and payment methods, Webb said. That means care delivery will be forced to take different forms, made possible by “the wherewithal of [innovation] hackery and technology.”
Instead of referring to malicious technology intruders, Webb’s “hackers” are those who have devised and implemented a breakthrough innovation to circumvent an intractable problem.
In wave three, he said, “The destructive innovator and the hacker are going to own these (healthcare) spaces.”
To survive, healthcare providers must focus like lasers on providing the best customer experience possible, said Webb, whose books include “The Digital Innovation Playbook” and his latest on customer experience, “What Customers Crave.”
So, Webb’s third wave should produce changes for the good. But it will mean lots of disruption of today’s healthcare providers.