The Health Care and Gaming Connection

Not only is cross-fertilizing brilliant ideas a clever innovative approach to solving complex problems, it can also steer you towards strategic growth opportunities.   It was not surprising to me to read about “The Pharma-Gaming Connection” in Locating Your Next Strategic Opportunity via this month’s issue of HBR.  The Health Care industry was well represented at the Gamification Summit in San Fransisco earlier this year and gaming was a hot topic at the recent HiMSS in Orlando.  The article shares examples of ventures seizing this opportunity such as Foldit; an online social game for science geeks based on the challenge of finding the most efficient way to fold proteins in hopes that they can help solve real protein-folding challenges for biopharma companies.  What struck me about the examples the article provided was that none of them were focused on solving the pervasive barriers that stunt growth and innovation in Health Care broadly; issues such as patient adherence, patient privacy, access, and patient experience.  My point is not to diminish the significance of the examples given, in fact these companies are helping pioneer the pathway for us to tackle the more systemic issues.  In essence I want to stress the need for us to target these issues.

I get super excited thinking about leveraging mass collaboration to bring Health Care into the 21st century by cross pollinating principles of Motivational Design, data visualization, and shared value.  As Hans Rosling has said “I am not an optimist, I am a possiblist”.   This is all very doable, in fact it is being done as we speak, smart biopharma companies and Health Care broadly can either chose to help shape this movement or scramble later to catch up.

Do you know of any examples of ventures connecting Health Care and gaming?  Please share if you do…

Motivational Design Takes On Health Care

This is a powerful illustration of the Decisive Advancement in Customer Experience Methodology via Motivational Design.  Chris Mahoney, Cynergy’s Director of Health Care, helps us visualize the future of physician and patient experience.  Motivational Design is a methodology for changing behavior that is based on people’s intrinsic motivations, it brings together research from neuroscience, behavioral economics, game design and sociology to create solutions that bridge the gap between people’s intentions and their actions.

Huge kudos to Cynergy for pioneering technology that has the potential to radically transform the quality and experiences within Health Care broadly.  We need to apply these principles to all Health Care issues.  What gets me so excited is that this methodology extends beyond technology, it provides a framework that can be applied to operational strategies, communication strategies, financial strategies, truly everything.

The Power of Mass Collaboration

I am more and more profoundly struck by the enormity of the opportunity to radically re-discover, re-shape, re-invent, re-new, re-act, re-approach, and re-create our corporate environments, supply chains, industries, really our business community broadly.  Companies and leaders with the courage to actively embrace this revolution will discover and expand their potentiality.  However, those that merely observe, resist or ignore it are playing a high risk gamble with their ability to sustain let alone survive the unavoidable changes that have already been set into motion.  I have illustrated all of the elements, factors, stakeholders, and drivers at play in How to Prosper From Radical Meaningful Change.

Earlier today I listened to a brilliant HBR IdeaCast featuring Don Tapscott, a provocative thought leader and coauthor of Macrowikinomics, a book I am now inspired to read.  In this interview Don provides compelling examples of companies that are embracing this revolution. I agreed with most of Don’s insights, and without question we are at a punctuation point in history.  For the purposes of this discussion, I found two topics quite powerful and extremely relevant to further our discussions on the radical change we want ensure we shape in a highly meaningful way.

The first is the need to replace the traditional command and control organizational structures with new ones designed to empower mass collaboration.  He shared the example of how Lynx Operating System has been successful by taking a non conventional approach to structural design.  This approach mirrors the principles and approach of Agile.  The business community broadly has much to learn and leverage from Agile principles and methodologies.  While they have been written in context of software development, they apply universally as best practices.  In short, it is the customer-centric practice of a highly incremental and adaptive approach with a supporting universal language, notation and processes. Notably, management takes more of a curator approach and gives the developers the autonomy and empowerment to develop solutions that are relevant.  This would require a massive shift in leadership, where trust, respect, vulnerability, transparency, and awareness become essential.

The second topic was Don’s suggestion for the news industry to be re-built as a new macro collaborative, eco-system in the form of a “network newspaper”.  Capitalizing on the massive opportunity to join forces and play on the same team.  I believe that his example is even more powerful when applied to the health care industry.  Health care globally, is starving for a new eco-system that both capitalizes and solves the enormous gaps in patient experience and an incredibly bloated cost structure.  We need a macro health network and to do this, the abundant number of diverse stakeholders within health care will need to recognize and embrace that we are all on the same side now, the side of the patient.

Our biggest challenge is not the complexity of the solutions required to solve the underlying problems, it is the attachment to traditional solutions and fear of change that are so tightly guarded in some of the highly command and control industries like heath care.    Industries like technology, by it’s very nature, have been forced to explore and develop more open, collaborative and adaptive structures and solutions and will be much faster, closer and creative in their strategies to embrace this change.

A great starting place for health care is to re-invent how we approach intellectual property.  Patient privacy in particular is not just a barrier for heath care, it has become a convenient excuse not to communicate openly with patients.  A great topic for a follow up post.

What are some other issues, not necessarily heath care focused that you think need immediate attention?


Wireless Medicine Has Arrived!

I was very inspired after reading an article in Medscape this morning about how wireless medicine will affect medical care. (If you are not already a member you will need to sign up for free but it is worth the read.)  Historically there has been resistance to leverage powerful information technologies in the medical field for two primary reasons, first and foremost privacy and the other openness to change.  It was not long ago that practices finally started using email and many still rely solely on paper filing systems.  However, as technology providers have become more effective at addressing security concerns and the technologies themselves have become ubiquitous and highly user friendly those barriers are no longer standing in our way.  Even more paramount is the pending physician shortage Dr. Joseph Smith speaks of, leveraging these technologies will not just be an option, it will soon become a necessity.

Unfortunately, while I do believe we are making great strides in becoming more patient centric, putting patient experience first, I do not believe it has reached the tipping point to overcome the need to address reimbursement as a priority.  This needs to be solved and communicated clearly to enable acceleration of adoption for wireless medicine.  This creates a powerful opportunity for those in the health care field that provide reimbursement solutions.

Seeing wireless medicine gain enthusiasm is very exciting and promising for the heath care experience at large!

Health Care Megatrends

If your business is health care related or if you partner with health care related business you need to check out HBR’s Insight Center focused on Health Care Megatrends.  There are an abundance of valuable insights and articles well worth your time.  Are your strategies aligned to the Megatrends in Global Health Care?  There are many opportunities within these trends.  Although I was disappointed that patient experience was not one of them… it should be top of the list.  Another interesting read is the Ten Innovations That Will Transform Medicine; most interesting to me is where we are going with behavioral economics and payment innovations.  However my take on payment innovations leans more towards motivating other stakeholders outside of traditional payers to contribute in covering costs, if it is mapped to behavioral economics it is a win win for all stakeholders and first and foremost patients.  I’ve barely scratched the surface here on the great reads, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Physicians Need to Celebrate the Age of Transparency

Typically I am relentless optimist, it’s instinctive for me to recognize the gift in any challenge in even the worst of circumstances.  However this morning when I read an article Not Available in Canada in MacLean’s Magazine, I struggled hard to see any gift beyond there being a lot of opportunity for improvement.  I have read numerous articles recently exposing research and cures being held back due to industry politics and the end result is inexcusable.  Patients are needlessly suffering and even dying as a result.  Even if you are not a patient this impacts you as the costs to manage symptoms are much higher than the research or the cure.  No wonder the trust for the medical community is so low, transparency and customer (patient) experience are still foreign to this industry and this needs to change.  Our doctors need to become leaders rather than followers and advocate for their patients at all cost and if there is a good reason for preventing access then share it with us.  Huge kudos to those physicians that have shown the courage to advocate for their patients like Dr. Sandy MacDonald.  There are many heroes like her out there but far more are needed to make this transformation.  Physicians need to Celebrate the Age of Transparency.

Open Bio Medical Data Sharing

Earlier this week I blogged about the heroic social change that patientslikeme.com has created.  Today I read an article and listened to a short but powerful video Patients Teach Scientists To Share that further exposes the impact of the current barriers of open access to data for patients and the health community at large.  Protecting patient privacy and providing open access to essential medical data are NOT mutually exclusive.  However prohibiting access is killing patients and stunting the development of cures.  Drug manufacturers, scientists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and patients can unite and make this happen. In my blog Celebrating the Age of Transparency, I speak of the 5 essentials disciplines of customer centric strategies, this is a great example of purposeful business strategy.

Kudos to patientslikeme.com!

A good friend of mine shared a great article with me this morning from the NY Times I don’t mean to dismiss the importance of patient privacy, but I think patientslikeme.com has a fantastic business model. I advocate this double agent approach, they are empowering both the patient and the drug makers. We do after all want the drug manufacturers focused on what patient’s need and to do this effectively they need data like this. Patients, physicians, nurses, pharmacists and drug manufactures all need to check this out.