Health Providers

A Look at the Business of Health Care in Boston - 2019 and Beyond

PUBLISHED: 8/15/2019

Future of Healthcare

Boston is home to some of the world’s leading health care researchers, practitioners, and institutions. And while Massachusetts is generally considered to have some of the best health care in the country, it is also among the costliest (3rd in the nation behind Alaska and Washington, DC), with access issues (long wait times for PCPs and specialists), and potentially subpar outcomes (a problem that plagues the US as a whole). So when the Boston Business Journal convened a panel of local leaders to discuss how to fix what ails health care, a lively discussion ensued.


Here are some of the highlights:

Creating more meaningful change from data

Payers and providers alike are focused on leveraging social determinants of health to lower costs and improve outcomes. Mining patient data to build a more complete picture of the population you serve can help you more proactively address its needs. By way of example, $1.3 Billion is spent on Medicare & Medicaid recipients in this country, populations that often use a disproportionate share of the health care system. These more vulnerable groups may struggle with basic human needs like transportation, housing, and food, which prevents them from even thinking about health care, medication compliance or exercise. Gaining a big-picture view to the impediments to health can help drive more impactful programs and services.

Moving beyond "heads and beds"

Hospital CEOs traditionally look at patient volume as a measure of success. But a shift to accountable care models that use data to predict and prevent more serious health episodes calls those measures into question. As not-for-profit, mission-driven businesses committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the populations they serve, should their true measure of success be whether they made a difference in these patients’ lives?

Meeting patients/members where they live and work.

Care is increasing delivered outside of the hospital room – in the community, at your place of employment, even in your living room (thanks to telehealth). While many think digital healthcare has not lived up to its hype, there is no question that alternative care models fueled by new technology and media channels will see steady growth. Data privacy has become a crutch that slows down innovation in this space, but let’s not forget that the P in HIPAA stands for portability. As in, I should be able to access my medical records as easily as I withdraw cash from an ATM. The Millennial generation is much more willing to share data in exchange for value, convenience, and improvements to the greater good, so maybe we’ll see improvements here. And with the sizable entrepreneur community in our backyard, advancements could come from anywhere, not just the likely candidates (hello, Amazon).


So, healthcare marketers, what are you doing to get smart about your patients/members? How are you harnessing data to inform not only services and operations, but patient/member communications and go-to-market strategies? How are you meeting people where they live and work? All of this should be part of your 2019 roadmap; contact us we’d be happy to help.