No doubt healthcare is changing, but how fast will it change and into what? Over the last six months, Canton & Company engaged industry insiders for their views on the overall direction for healthcare. In some cases, the results validated our suspicions, and in one case, we learned something we didn’t expect.

Here’s the upshot, respondents to three one-question surveys reveal strong agreement that:

  1. The current healthcare system is designed more for sickness than good health;
  2. The industry must move away from its sickness-focus to one that is health-centric to achieve better outcomes and lower costs; and
  3. The transition to a health-centric industry will be achieved in ten years or less (Detailed results are included below)

To be honest, we were surprised by number three – 67% believe it will take ten years or less for the industry to reach the tipping point where overall design and services are tailored more for good health than illness. In “healthcare years,” one decade isn’t a lot of time. We expected a more pessimistic outlook, but only 24% believe it will take closer to 15 years, and just 9% believe it will take longer than that. Given that the survey was designed to generate directional insights only, it’s fair to say those results could change with a more statistically valid approach administered across thousands of recipients. Still, with 150+ responses, it gives a good sense for what industry insiders are thinking.

And we are seeing change happening – in thinking, in the way care is financed, and in delivery models. There continues to be a strong push – particularly by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) – for value-based models that focus on results (and illness-avoidance). Social determinants of health (SDOH), finally recognized for their impact on health, are being integrated into traditional care delivery, and we’re seeing a greater focus on bringing community-based organizations into the continuum – all in the name of good health.

New entrants are joining the market, too, bringing solutions that support this growing focus on health status. Take Philadelphia-based Tridiuum, for example. They’re using technology to help integrate behavioral health (long treated separately from physical health) into the care continuum to drive better total health. We’re also seeing traditional healthcare organizations start to implement programs with a much greater emphasis on overcoming barriers to good health. A great example is the FoodQ program begun by Health Care Service Corporation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Institute. It offers an affordable food delivery service in communities that suffer from limited access to fresh, nutritious food. In both of these examples the companies are tackling issues known to impact overall health, not to mention chronic conditions.

Many other organizations and innovators are following suit. CMS is increasing pressure on providers to accept more risk and deliver better outcomes. And the investment community continues to fund new ventures and maintains a positive outlook on health-focused businesses. Momentum is building, even in our historically-slow moving industry. Will we see the tipping point in ten years? It’s hard to say, but with many forces heading in the right direction, we just might make it.

Will we see the tipping point in 10 years? It’s hard to say, but with many forces heading in the right direction, we just might make it.

To contribute your insight to the next Pulse survey, sign up here.