In a comment on my Verizon Wireless post the other day, someone asked if I'm going to write more about The Innovator's Prescription, the book that's been sitting in my "Currently Reading" widget since June. Since I just pulled it out to continue, this is a good time to fess up to what's going on.
This book is breaking my head, in good ways. It's taking me a long time to think about all of its insights, assimilate them, and let them filter down into the nooks and crannies of my thinking about healthcare.
As one indication, here's a snapshot (courtesy of my webcam, as I sit on this Virgin America flight to a conference in San Francisco) of a two-page spread of the book. Now, I don't usually make this many marks in a book when I read it; I only mark up things I really want to remember, really want to come back and study again. But this single two-page spread has many underlines, circles, margin notes and highlights.
This book is dense, and I mean its information content, not its writing style. And what the authors say about healthcare delivery systems - and how industries evolve - is resonating with my experience both as a patient and as someone who's watched industries evolve, from inside and out, for decades.
Two weeks from now I'm speaking at a conference in Philadelphia with Jason Hwang, co-author of the book, so I want to get it wrapped up by then. (He's the opening keynote; I speak that afternoon.) But just to give a hint of how much juice there is in this book, here are some notes I've scribbled on the inside cover about potential blog posts:
- The three approaches to achieving data interoperability (p. 138)
- Toyota's approach to the "right data in the right place at the right time" problem (p. 138)
- Our health data must be open, not held hostage - vendors must learn to make money by adding value not locking up our data in their private vault (p. 142)
- As the data become commoditized (not locked up), the software tools that add value will become decommoditized, and this is where new vendors will make money... as old-wave vendors will suffocate. (p. 142)
- 3/4 of our direct healthcare costs are related to chronic disease, not acute illness. Any approach that doesn't address this can only dent the surface. (p. 150)
- Their study across industries over the years has shown that the improvements brought about by disruption require new business models too, not just new technology. The business model (the cost structure!) of physicians and hospitals is appropriate for acute illness (relatively brief time from diagnosis to cure or death) and isn't viable for conditions that last for years. (p. 150)
- The importance of finding why a pattern happens - the underlying mechanism that explains our observations and predicts what's likely next. (p. 151)
Mind you, I have some concerns about limitations of their view, but before I spout about that, I want to have finished it!
Look, this is an important book. It's not political; these guys are trying to drum into our skulls that they've found something that's important to understand.
I know not all great healthcare minds agree with their prescription, and only time will tell whether they nailed it. But if I had a half million to invest, I'd be avidly sizing up my options in light of the Christensen/Hwang framework.
It's entirely readable (no geek credentials required, no HITSP ARRA alphabet soup). There is no magic to this. Be old-fashioned: read a book, and understand it for yourself. :-)