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Thanks to hyper-connectivity and technology that grows more powerful each year, healthcare companies face both a huge opportunity for growth and great risk of falling behind. What can real estate and facilities leaders do to keep calm and keep up?

At the Health Facilities Innovation Forum (now HealthSpaces), Tom X. Lee, founder and executive chairman of One Medical Group, shared clear strategies for achieving innovation in healthcare.


Inevitable Disruption Is On Its Way

Lee cut right to the chase, stating that we’re on the cusp of a big shift in pace. People working in the healthcare field may feel secure right now, but a disruptive future is coming, and it’ll be here within the next ten to twenty years. We’re already seeing the beginnings of this disruption in the way that tech has come to dominate the way we work.

“If you look at non-physical goods and services, such as education and financial services, the technology and data wave is really starting to impact how people operate their businesses and how they succeed as a business, period.”

There is already an influx of competitors coming from outside the healthcare industry, leveraging new software, tools, and data science techniques to step in and get ahead of the traditional healthcare brands. It’s only a matter of time before tech goliaths like Apple, Google, IBM, and Amazon enter the market and position themselves as the next big competitors. 


As Lee points out, healthcare leaders are responding to the change in two typical ways:

1) Ignore

Like ostriches with their heads in the sand, these people remain convinced of the idea that healthcare will continue to move at the same slow pace. They rely on the industry’s old conventions to keep disruptions at bay.

2) Try harder

These types acknowledge the need for a response. They do this by maximizing their current efforts: making aggressive investments, increasing spending, etc.

But what if there were a better, smarter approach? Lee references the wisdom of a famous athlete to point us in the right direction:

“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” -Wayne Gretzky, world-record-holding hockey player

If we follow Gretzky’s advice, we first need to predict where healthcare’s “puck” is going to be. Given how complex the healthcare industry is, the process isn’t quite as clear-cut as it is on the ice. Thankfully, Lee shared his own tips for finding the puck and staying ahead of the curve.


Key Strategies for Innovation in Healthcare

1) Know the Environment

Make an effort to understand the playing field. This requires educating yourself on the tech by going to the source, digging deeper than the mainstream news headlines. Stay on top of tech trends, and don’t forget to look at what’s going on outside of healthcare. It’s often the case that when a trend starts in one industry, it doesn’t take long before it starts in another.

2) Evaluate Your Options (and Tradeoffs)

Small adjustments to your business strategies may work fine in normal circumstances, but if you want to stay ahead of the curve, you’ve got really look at your options and play them out. Run the math, predict the sensitivities, lay out your possible scenarios and then step back to evaluate. You’ll be able to choose better paths when you’ve got a clear, informed view of your options.

3) Make Definitive Moves

In a fast-paced environment, there’s no room for half-hearted efforts. You’ve got to commit to the changes you decide upon and execute them fully. Prepare for it with deliberate planning, attacks, and defenses. While it can feel risky to be so bold, it’s important to remember that big moves can lead to big progress.

Amanda Pachniewska

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Amanda Pachniewska is a copywriter that specializes in the architecture and design sector. When she's not writing about ambitious building projects and innovative spaces, you can find her building her own architectural creations in The Sims, reporting on animal cognition research, or penning fantasy fiction.

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