Challenging changes in the healthcare delivery landscape are impacting academic health centers, which are in the forefront of applying biomedical research to transform healthcare and advance the well-being of patients and the communities they serve.
As leaders in—and often sole and safety-net providers of—healthcare, academic health centers are transforming their clinical care mission to address:
Advances in science and technology, along with changing economic forces, are creating a “new physics” of patient care. Academic health centers are transforming their clinical mission to focus on: Care Anywhere, Team Care, Data Sets, and Advances in Artificial Intelligence.
The private sector is rapidly moving to develop new ways to provide patient care. This will heavily influence the ways academic health centers not only deliver care, but also how they educate health professionals and conduct biomedical research. As the care model becomes less siloed and fragmented, the private sector will continue to challenge academic health centers in improving care delivery.
Through innovations in education and research, academic health centers can train the healthcare workforce in the delivery and dissemination of high-quality, affordable, patient-centered care. This includes recognizing that social determinants of health influence the health and wellbeing of populations. Academic health centers should focus on empowering patients in self-management of disease and disease prevention.
Healthcare Market Consolidation
Consolidation in the healthcare industry is driven by a number of factors. Classically, the major driver has been access to capital; but, more recently, physician alignment and employment also has been a major issue. While declining reimbursements may be forcing consolidation, academic health centers can take advantage of economies of scale and mergers to increase leverage with private payers in a given market.
Current evidence-based and performance-based payment policies create a financial disincentive to care for patients disadvantaged by environmental, social, and behavioral determinants of health. Creation of a “life circumstances adjustment” mechanism is essential to establishing fair and effective population-based payment policies.