Becker’s Hospital Review | Hayley Hovious

Recently I enjoyed the opportunity to travel with 30 healthcare executives from the United States to meet with the foremost leaders of the U.K. health system for a weeklong tour of trans-Atlantic learning, high-level networking and global dialogue.

The trip was part of an international study mission offered biennially by the Nashville Health Care Council.

At the end of the trip, I heard leaders on both sides sharing the same sentiment (with slightly different accents): “We should do that again – soon.”

The Council has offered these programs for more than 15 years, but this year’s conversations seemed to reflect more urgency and substance than on previous trips.

Part of the difference can certainly be attributed to the seismic changes impacting the political and healthcare landscapes, both here and abroad. I would argue, however, that this year’s conversations felt more meaningful for another reason: Healthcare has entered the globalization era.

Experts will tell you that healthcare is consistently 20 years behind other industries, so perhaps it’s no surprise that we’re only now beginning to crest this wave. Traditional barriers – like language, technology and distance – continue to be eliminated, making international markets more feasible for healthcare organizations to explore.

The discussion finally hit the international mainstage last month at the World Economic Forum. In a report titled “Value in Healthcare: Laying the Foundation for Health-System Transformation,” major healthcare players from the United States, England, Switzerland, Japan, the Netherlands and others called upon every country to adopt a value-based care model.

It’s a robust report, with actionable insight for pulling a lagging healthcare system into the 21st century. But innovation doesn’t spread like a communicable disease, and it can’t hop continents simply through blog posts or TED talks or white papers. The key is in convening healthcare leaders from all corners of the map to discuss ideas, advice, solutions and what keeps them up at night.

The scale and pace of change in healthcare today is only increasing the hunger for broader collaboration and a wider exchange of ideas. Collectively, public and private healthcare systems in the U.S., the U.K. and elsewhere are facing a maturation of the industry and the challenges of redefining what healthcare is (and isn’t). Collaboration has never been more essential for healthcare leaders seeking to successfully evolve their delivery systems and organizations.

For me, one of the most interesting takeaways from this year’s study mission to the U.K. was just how many issues our countries shared together. The emerging trends and dynamics of today’s American healthcare environment – the prevalence of chronic disease, an aging population and the rise of the healthcare consumer, to name only a few – are not unique. Political and social shifts are already creating similar challenges across the globe.

Much like the industry itself, Nashville’s role in healthcare has changed significantly in the two decades since the Nashville Health Care Council was founded. As the Council grows and evolves to meet the increased demand for collaboration, we recently updated our purpose statement to better reflect the scope and impact of our organization: To inspire global collaboration to improve healthcare by serving as a catalyst for leadership and innovation.

We took this important step because our unique position in healthcare allows us a unique opportunity – to facilitate conversations among healthcare leaders from around the country and around the globe who wish to learn from one another and work together toward a common goal.

To turn today’s challenges into opportunities, healthcare leaders must join together on a larger scale. The type of substantive, meaningful conversation we witnessed in London will be the key to improving healthcare for the entire world. The Nashville Health Care Council is excited to join likeminded organizations both at home and abroad in rising to the challenge.

By Hayley Hovious, President, Nashville Health Care Council

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker’s Hospital Review/Becker’s Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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