We will be sharing and building upon the findings of our second Futures Task Force at the CHRISTUS Leadership retreat, which begins today. I know I have mentioned our learnings from these task forces in previous blog posts, but thought it would be useful to start with a description of our task force process. Later today and tomorrow we will share some of the learnings of the task force and how it relates to our future planning.
In 2000, CHRISTUS convened the first Futures Task Force, which was of the utmost importance as our newly-formed health system set out on a new path. The task force undertook an extensive literature review and study of futures thinking to set the context for the challenges that lay ahead in order to anticipate what our world would look like 10 to 20 years into the future.
The four scenarios drafted by Futures Task Force I painted pictures of how the world might look in the future. They predicted that reimbursement would continue to decline, particularly on the inpatient side, which would be exacerbated by a large national crisis (like a war) that would draw further funding away from health care. The events of 9/11 and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have proved that prediction to be true.
The scenarios also predicted an increase in globalization (or the “shrinking of the world”) and the rapid introduction of new technology which would be disruptive but also allow more care to move to the outpatient arena. These scenarios resulted in 19recommendations which altered the strategic trajectory of our health ministry, and fueled CHRISTUS’ partnership in Mexico and restructuring of the portfolio to include one-third acute care, one-third non-acute care and one-third international operations.
In October of 2007, CHRISTUS Health once again engaged in a focused effort to understand the trends shaping the future in order to ensure that our health ministry would be appropriately positioned to continue our mission of extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. It was determined that revisiting CHRISTUS’ assumptions regarding the future was critical at that time, given the many changes that the world, the industry and CHRISTUS itself had experienced since the first Futures Task Force completed its work. The world had changed dramatically since June 2001; several global disruptive events had changed the political and economic landscape; the health care industry was challenged with a changing business model, regulatory environment and a rising numbers of the uninsured. Additionally, much of the findings and recommendations of the first Futures Task Force had become industry standard, diluting any strategic value to CHRISTUS. Perhaps most important, we found ourselves at a critical juncture in shaping our strategic direction, and determined that the correct long-term context was critical to long-term success.
Therefore, Futures Task Force II embarked on a year-long journey to identify the emerging trends that would shape the world, the health care industry and the CHRISTUS Health ministry in 2020 and beyond. This journey included a deep exploration of trends in a vast array of areas including social paradigms, science, technology, energy, consumer empowerment, the environment, geopolitics, innovation and the definition and role of community, to name just a few.
Task force members identified three overarching trends that they felt would be most critical in shaping the future and that of the health ministry. These include:
• Customer empowerment is relatively new in health care, but is a phenomenon to which most industries have had to respond. The health care industry is witnessing it now because consumers and patients have greater access to information (including health information and social media and networking online), the fact that they often share a greater responsibility for the cost, and rising dissatisfaction with the health care industry
• Globalization and the interconnectivity of markets, communities and cultures across the globe, which has been a growing reality for decades. It is largely driven by technology, but we know now that there are no geographic boundaries to social networks, so globalization now happens at a personal level. It affords product distribution networks with access to new customers, new products and offers low-cost, highly scalable business models.
• Technology: Trends in information and clinical technology have long been major drivers in the evolution of nearly every industry. Once again, social networking/business distribution networks open up new opportunities for learning, connecting and marketing across the economic pyramid. In health care, the possibilities continue to be astonishing—genetic intervention and DNA therapies may soon eliminate some diseases. Early diagnostics and intervention already eliminate the need for certain care, which continues to migrate out of institutions into new delivery models.