By Toby Cosgrove, MD
President and CEO, Cleveland Clinic
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Change is happening fast and furious in healthcare, touching all aspects of the industry — how we identify and treat disease, who provides treatment, where we offer healthcare services, how patients interact with their caregivers and how we are paid.
All of these changes — while necessary — have created some anxiety for many in the profession. To put it in terms of Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief, we’ve passed denial, anger, and bargaining and have reached Stage Four, which is depression. Soon, though, we’ll all reach the final stage: acceptance.
Looking at the myriad changes, though, it’s easy to see why caregivers may be feeling anxious:
These and other changes are happening alongside rapid technological advances, the uncertain effects of legislation, and the tectonic shift from volume-based reimbursement to a value-based system.
We need what the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called “courage in the face of reality.” These fearsome changes are actually an opportunity for us to reinvent healthcare. At Cleveland Clinic, we’re stripping away the superficialities and trying to answer the most basic question in medicine: What is best for the patient? We’re focusing on quality, access and affordability.
To accept change, you need what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadell calls “a culture that is fundamentally not opposed to new concepts and new capabilities.” For some large medical centers, this will be hard. But we have no choice. Charles Darwin put it best: “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives but the most adaptable.”