Healthcare

Reflections From HLTH 2021: The Future of Health

I’m lucky enough to attend Boston’s HLTH 2021 event, and there is one major theme that already stands out to me: the conflict between locality and specialty.

Monday’s lunchtime keynotes presented both ends of this spectrum.

First, Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President of Health & Wellness at Walmart, spoke about Walmart’s bet to be “all in on value-based care.” Walmart seeks to be the trusted place for health in their communities, anytime, seven days a week. This focus on local access to care implies Walmart is looking to build more health into the footprints of its existing stores.

Additionally, the value-base care approach suits Walmart’s business model to be as low cost as possible. This helps with Walmart’s integration strategy as a low-cost provider and is inherently less threatening to existing, entrenched health care systems than a direct competitor, such as a national provider, would be.

Right after Ms. Pegus finished, Gianrico Farrugia, M.D. CEO of Mayo Clinic – one of the premier health systems in the world – spoke.

Mayo Clinic’s business model is to attract patients globally, especially those whose insurance will pay for advanced care. But this model comes with an obvious problem: once a patient concludes treatment at Mayo, the patient needs to leave with records of their treatment.

Mayo Clinic’s strategy is to provide a data-based platform for patients to bring records home to their local primary care doctors.

Both organizations seek transformation, and both seek partnerships – the new framing for acquisitions and investment. And both acknowledge they need to transform themselves.

The landscape of the healthcare ecosystem has not recovered from COVID yet, but it’s interesting to see these two opposing themes front and center.

About the Author

Paul Griffiths is the GM of the Digital Healthcare Solutions unit at Perficient, where he works with hospital and health plan marketing departments on digital initiatives. DHS services integrated healthcare delivery systems around the United States.

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