Synergy: A state in which two or more things work together in a particularly fruitful way that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Synergy can happen serendipitously — individuals of like interests meeting at the home of a common friend or at the gym. That type of synergy may trigger additional get-togethers and could lead to a lasting relationship.
In business, however, synergy that produces successful outcomes often needs to be orchestrated through networking events and planned working sessions. For example, addressing the challenges associated with the rising costs of healthcare or access to critical services requires the expertise and commitment of a variety of stakeholders, such as providers, payers, pharma, government agencies, as well as employers and other plan administrators.
Each stakeholder has a vested interest in solving the most vexing problems associated with the delivery and cost of safe, high-quality care. And, each stakeholder group could easily work independently to try to solve the problem. Working in a stakeholder silo, however, limits the breadth and depth of the solution. And, quite frankly, the proposed solutions and down-stream effect could be potentially problematic for other stakeholders.
Working together — creating synergy around common goals — is more likely to breed success because it:
- Is a multi-faceted approach
- Utilizes multiple levels and types of expertise
- Creates broad-based buy-in
- Respects unique stakeholder needs
- Promotes compromise and consensus
Many organizations and companies provide platforms for knowledge sharing and a catalyst for the requisite synergy. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) hosts its Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy Annual meeting as well as Nexus educational sessions, and HIMSS and Change Healthcare conferences inform stakeholders on information technology (IT) advancements. These are just three organizations that provide opportunities for individuals and companies with varied backgrounds, visions and goals to establish networks and lasting relationships that can be useful in improving the delivery of healthcare services.
AMCP study examines emergency trends
Conferences and education sessions are a first step in the networking cycle. Once established, relationships and interdependencies continue to flourish through additional knowledge sharing. For example, in addition to its conferences, the AMCP is actively involved in research and widely shares its study results. In October of last year, the AMCP Foundation released the results of a new study, “Ahead of the Curve: Top 10 Emerging Health Care Trends — Implications for Patients, Providers, Payers and Pharmaceuticals.” The organization, while dedicated to the practice of pharmaceutical care in managed health care environments, is conducting research that has implications and benefits beyond pharma.
“In this fast-faced environment, it is critical to understand the shifting landscape, so that organizations can anticipate changes and prioritize actions,” said David Moules, a vice president of Pfizer, a partner in the survey. “The results validate the biopharmaceutical industry’s efforts to discover, develop and bring to market medicines deemed to be of value to the healthcare system, including those that are responsible for paying for medicines.”
The report discusses 10 emerging trends that will have an impact over the next five years.
- Due to increased cost pressures, there is a migration from fee-for-service to new value-based provider payment models that have incentives for cost control and high-quality patient care.
- Fueled by competition and payment uncertainty, there is consolidation of healthcare stakeholders that promotes standardized decisions on care practices and pharmaceutical coverage.
- Widespread use of data and analytics in patient care requires new thinking about breaking down organizational barriers and developing data exchange business models.
- Increased utilization and spending for specialty medicines is forcing payers and manufactures to develop new approaches to formulary design and pricing practices.
- Medicaid expansion is shifting more economic risk from the government to payers and providers, which requires innovative models of care delivery and improved efficiencies.
- Migration to a value-oriented healthcare marketplace that balances quality and cost demands consistent definitions and benchmark metrics.
- Growth and performance of the accountable care organizations (ACO) model promotes integration and coordination, and is dependent on a robust data infrastructure.
- Greater patient engagement through technology that educates patients, and manages and coordinates care requires data transparency, and improved patient education and care-coordination tools.
- Increasing patient cost-sharing as an effort to curtail costs and incentivize patient involvement depends on proper design, monitoring and patient empowerment to ensure continued access and adherence.
- Healthcare everywhere — new avenues for patient engagement and alternative methods of delivering healthcare — requires innovation through new tools and mobile applications.
As you can see, each of these 10 trends affects multiple stakeholders who have a choice. They can approach each trend wearing blinders, seek solutions that are narrow in scope and be satisfied with solutions that may or may not have far-reaching success. Or, they can network to create a synergy that broadens the scope of the solutions, and more likely produces outcomes that will be long-lasting and beneficial across disciplines.
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