Building Bridges Through Motive Alignment
The Affordable Care Act is considered to be the single largest disruption in the history of healthcare delivery. As affected parties race to remain relevant, they are being forced to re-tool their offerings in order to find their place in the emerging value chain.
This seismic shift has seen a recasting of allies, many of whom would have historically made unlikely partners. The recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions would seem a logical recalibration to adjust to the impact of the ACA. Intuitively, the desire for critical mass creates a degree of insulation and fosters influence in the marketplace.
The M&A activity hasn’t been limited to any given area, as it can be seen occurring across all lines in the market with insurance carriers, healthcare systems and other related parties aggressively growing to acquire mass. The level of activity in this space is unprecedented. However, the argument could be made that size might not be all one needs moving forward. Critical mass does create market dominance, however, it can also stifle the much needed innovation that comes from organizations nimble enough to maintain a “high touch” response to the consumer. That sort of innovation is best developed in an open, collaborative environment and in many circumstances, across complementary lines of interest.
The Fertile Ground of Collaboration
The alliances forming today should prove to bring a fertile ground of solution-based product development and delivery, resulting in a new order in the marketplace. Considering the healthcare system’s current challenges, a greater degree of entrenchment breakdown will need to occur by aligning the motives of those interested in more effectively serving the end user.
Historically, the players at the table have been hospital systems and provider community, the insurance carriers and related industries along with employers that provide insurance to the vast majority of our population. In the past, our system wasn’t fostering a collaborative environment in order to serve the end user, and as such, they have been forced to navigate the intimidating terrain of healthcare on their own.
Admittedly, there have been pockets of success seen here and there, but since the advent of the Affordable Care Act we’ve witnessed an ignition of community-based problem solving surrounding healthcare. The conversations are beginning to sound more like true collaboration, focusing on the most pressing issues and working to align the motives through the process in the interest of sustainability and relevance.
Perhaps one of the best examples of this is occurring right here in the heart of our own community at the YMCA Central Florida. In conjunction with many other aligned parties, the YMCA is bringing about meaningful change by helping aggregate solutions throughout the value chain of healthcare. This is being done with a keen focus on the most essential areas of care that need immediate and critical attention. As defined by their actions, they have made a pivot to their cause to continue to support their model of long-standing, deeply rooted service to the community. Simply put, they are waging war against diabetes through education, community involvement, resource access and a simpler path to better health for their constituents.
Combating an Epidemic
The epidemic of diabetes in the U.S. could possibly choke off any future healthcare growth and overwhelm the entire system. In order to offset this, YMCA Central Florida has brought together organizations like United Healthcare, Novo Nordisk, Florida Hospital, Orlando Health and Insurance Office of America among others, in an effort to align motives and integrate the approach for care across the entire system. This collaborative approach, along with the linkage to a personal navigator/coach, simplifies the path for the end user and results in improved quality outcomes in diabetes management.
There are two main ingredients needed for this type of collaboration to succeed which the YMCA Central Florida understands implicitly. The first is trust through transparency. Providing a greater degree of transparency through the system fosters more effective integration. That degree of transparency also helps support the second key ingredient for success, which is to find the “win” in this alignment for each respective party. No one can afford to simply give it away. In order to remain sustainable, a certain degree of “success” must occur at each stop along the way. Deciding what is enough and fair for each is a challenge in and of itself, but critical nonetheless to assure there is remaining capacity for future delivery.
The power of motive alignment, fueled by the intent of better serving the end user, cannot be understated. When those flames are properly fanned, they can transform an industry and perhaps, in the end, save it from itself. As respective leaders in our fields of study and practice, we have a moral and ethical obligation to help foster this as we interdependently try to achieve something greater than ourselves.
About the Author
Christopher Labrecque currently serves as the managing partner of the Employee Benefits Group at Insurance Office of America and can be reached at Chris.Labrecque@ioausa.com