CIS Scott Blanchette Nov 12 aScott Blanchette, the Chief Information Officer for Kindred Healthcare, addressed three main areas related to change – why we should do it, how to do it, and what will happen next. Looking at the “why,” Blanchette points to the current financial state of the United States, examining the country’s bottom line. While income is up, expenses have nearly doubled. In fact, Blanchette notes that the U.S. is gathering debt faster than any other time in history except during World War I and World War II. And the biggest costs are tied to healthcare and an aging population, with nearly half of the money being spent on Social Security (24%), Medicare (14%) and Medicaid (9%). That may be enough of a reason to embrace change, but Blanchette points to an eye-opening projection: By 2026, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will be the entirety of the government’s budget.

 

Blanchette could be more comfortable with change than most.

“My job fundamentally changes every ten years,” he notes, and the reason is simple—as the tech changes, so do the possibilities. The desktop PC that used to dominate the market was overshadowed by mobile internet computing in the 2000s. Now is the time of wearable tech and the potential for collecting data is bigger than ever. While the technology may be there, the problem is that the healthcare industry is seriously lagging behind other industries in terms of tech adoption and usage.

CIS Scott Blanchette Nov 12 bThat isn’t going to stop Blanchette from achieving one of his main goals and the basis of the “how,” which is getting rid of paper and going fully digital. As much as he hates paper, he loves connectivity. Combining digital with connectivity is the way to get to the analytics. When he asks the audience to name one of the companies with the biggest focus on data mining and analytics, no one comes up with the right answer. Disney, it turns out, gathers deep data about us, and they may know more about our general health than some healthcare companies, but they don’t use this data.

This disparity between the healthcare industry and other industries in technology usage may be viewed as a problem, but to Blanchette it also provides a new path to reducing the difference, which is to partner with the experts in tech, like SAP or Google. Kindred brings its expertise in healthcare to the people who know technology best. Blanchette says for those with the best ideas, the technology adoption curve in the future will be essentially zero. For those still in doubt, he notes that it took 71 years for the telephone to reach a million consumers. For the Xbox, it was only two days. As he looks at the future, he sees a shift in healthcare from redundant delivery, misaligned incentives, and a consumption-based approach to the healthcare world of tomorrow, with coordinated, integrated care, and effective delivery.