November 13, 2020

When Good Enough is Perfect

Yesterday, I attended the 1776 Challenge Festival Healthcare Day—an exciting celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation across the healthcare space featuring cutting edge start-ups, innovative units within healthcare systems, well-intentioned payers and government officials who seemed to be serious about changing for the good. Sure, healthcare’s full of problems, but the buzz in this room was different. Attendees were here to solve challenges together.

The first panel started out diving into the tension between healthcare payers and providers over rising healthcare costs and the need to align incentives toward patient centered care. The conversation was honest –health systems are large and large systems don’t move quickly.

An interesting question was thrown into the mix—why is healthcare the only industry where more technology actually drives costs up overall?  Shouldn’t it be the inverse?

According to a panel discussion, it’s a problem we, the public, create.

No patient thinks of themselves as average and no one expects average care.  It’s your life (you only get one!) so why have a mediocre healthcare facility when you could have the best?

But when is good enough, perfect?  When does cutting edge technology not actually matter?

The panel went on to say that for cutting edge treatments in cancer and other diseases, new technologies are incredibly expensive but also life-saving.  But what about things like hernia repair? Will the cutting edge technology or research really make a measurable difference in all areas of delivery?

It’s exciting that these conversations are happening in the U.S. because IPIHD is keen to show the world how our innovators are doing more with less, and yielding comparable or better outcomes.  Ayzh provides a $2 clean birthing kit that dramatically increases maternal health outcomes.  Jacaranda Health utilizes innovative, affordable technologies to improve prenatal outcomes.  And many others in our network continue to balance affordability of new technology with evidence-based outcomes.  Innovation should yield dramatic results.

Looking ahead, I’m excited about the role of innovation in bringing healthcare to new markets, driving costs down and saving more lives with efficient use of resources.  But maybe next time for my primary care visit, I’ll be less impressed by the shiny technology and fancy electronic health record and more interested in learning from my doctor, face to face.  Just like the good old days!