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What Hospitals Need in 2011: Insurgents With Gumption!

Today, several related themes point the way to R&R - Resolutions and Revitalization - in 2011. 

First, Seth Godin contrasts status quo-destroying insurgents and committee-pleasing incumbents.  Says Godin,
"It takes guts to be an insurgent, and even though the asymmetrical nature of challenging the status quo is in their favor, often we find we're short on guts. ... and then the incumbents prevail."
So, resolution #1: More insurgents!

Second, Anthony Cirillo muses about hospitals staying relevant, given that many are ceding first mover status on key industry opportunities;
"Frankly I see behavior from hospitals. It is easy to hide behind the "complexity" of hospitals and the "it's hard to turn a battleship on a dime" mentality. So we have business as 'fee for service' usual while others are progressively plowing ahead.

"There is no lack of gumption from those outside of the hospital arena. If Lowe's management can figure out why it makes sense to (send cardiac patients) to Cleveland Clinic, it is only a matter of time before others do the same calculating.

"Maybe hospitals are moving and changing--but just too slowly."
Thus resolution #2: More gumption!

Cirillo sees hospitals' changing roles being forced upon them by unmet challenges and unforeseen events, unexpected competition, untraditional ideas and their own fear.   My view is that, increasingly,  hospital admissions are seen as process defects elsewhere in the system, and insurgents see fortunes accruing to those correcting the defects.

Think about it.  How many things have to go wrong OUTSIDE of a hospital for an admission to occur?  And if the best, safest and cheapest length of stay is ZERO, well, fix the defects, cut off the admission before it happens.  The long-term threat to hospitals' business model ought to be clear.

So much for business as usual.  It's the end of deliberate, incremental change.  Insurgents are storming the ramparts.  Barbarians are at the gates. 

The real question is whether hospitals have sufficient gumption to think like insurgents, to mount their own strategy of counter-insurgency.  I'd like to think so.  I'd like to help.  But I'm afraid it's a question about which the jury is still out.  Stay tuned.


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