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The Future Of Nashville Healthcare Means More Accessible Locations

These are uncertain times in the healthcare industry, the speakers at our Nashville Healthcare Leadership Forum said, but then again uncertainty is the norm for the industry. The market's coping with a variety of strategies, most designed to improve access to care.


Pictured: North Highland managing director and global healthcare lead Fletcher Lance, Axial Healthcare president and founder Kevin Kirkpatrick, MissionPoint Health Partners CEO Jason Dinger, Saint Thomas Medical Partners CEO Fahad Tahir and KraftCPAs member & healthcare practice leader Lucy Carter, who moderated.

There's no denying that the challenges are enormous for the industry, our speakers said. Costs are still rising, both for providers and consumers. One out of every five GDP dollars goes to healthcare costs, and it's often the third-highest expense for businesses and growing. The traditional supply-and-demand relationship has long been disrupted in healthcare, with a long-standing incentive system for providers to always do more. That dynamic has proven resistant to change

What are the solutions? No one has all the answers, but our speakers did note that major policy changes are at best only part of the solution. Much improvement in the industry, in terms of cost control and providing better outcomes for patients, will come from more mundane, unheralded innovations, some of which involve better technology, but much of which is as simple as follow-up care after a hospital discharge (to prevent expensive readmittance) or providing reliable transportation for patients to healthcare providers.


Here are Baker Donelson shareholder Elizabeth Sauer, who moderated, Marcus & Millichap senior associate Kimberly Cameron, Oman-Gibson Associates president Tom Gibson, Anchor Health Properties SVP of development Michael Dossett , and Gresham Smith and Partners CEO James Bearden.

Our speakers said healthcare is on the cusp of a convenience revolution to become more accessible. In that, the industry is way behind other industries. People expect more convenience from service providers these days, and in the case of healthcare, better access will probably also mean better outcomes at a lower cost. Care providers need a 24/7 approach to managing the health of an individual. They need to be ready on demand, and have enough information about their patients to help them. Online scheduling is a simple example in a fundamental shift of giving patients more control into the access of healthcare; virtual care will be a more complex, far-ranging part of better accessibility. 

The retailing of healthcare is also an important trend in improving access. Health systems are investing in freestanding healthcare facilities more than ever, and there will be strategic alliances between healthcare systems and developers (with the right skill sets) for the construction of new or redeveloped facilities in former retail space, as well as new medical office space, which is in short supply. Healthcare systems have to be careful, however. A bad site selection decision can cost a health system a lot down the road.


The elephant in the room? What happens now that the election is over, and Congress is seemingly aligned to do away with the Affordable Care Act? Things are never that simple in Washington, however, our speakers pointed out. 

It would be politically difficult, for one thing, to take insurance away from the more than 20 million people who have gotten it through the ACA. Then there's the matter of what to do with the innovation centers set up by the law, and the ideas that have come from them. There needs to be a way to implement those ideas more cohesively, our speakers said.


Our events, as always, were a chance for attendees to have breakfast, schmooze and meet our sponsors. Shown: Chad DeRossett, Heather Sullivan, Julie Bandy, Mary Gibson and Ewing Smith of Holladay Properties, one of the event's sponsors, along with MissionPoint Health Partners and Baker Donelson.