After teetering between “endemic” and “triple-demic” amid the rise of digital coverage and rising inflation, we asked President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Markovich and members of his leadership team to predict what’s in store for the healthcare industry and Blue Shield in 2023.
About the redesign of the system
Paul Markovich, President and Chief Executive Officer
While the shift to values-based care is one of the most exciting and important trends in the industry, it requires a massive shift in how the healthcare system works, which may be uncomfortable for some. Hospitals are under tremendous financial pressure as they struggle with medical staff shortages and the impact of the pandemic. They are charging higher prices for services now, but there is a better way. We have the ability to redesign the system. In the Health Reimagined model, a partnership between providers and payers, we can work together to keep people healthy and out of the hospital while reducing costs and increasing profitability.
On the evolution of care
Sandra Clarke, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
The biggest challenge for healthcare in 2023 is finding the new normal after the public health emergency is over. “Normal” utilization of healthcare will become established, while inflationary cost pressures on service providers and payers will persist. Inexpensive, quality care options are likely to increase and evolve. The industry must continue to drive increased access to mental health tools and resources through virtual and in-person choices. These challenges offer us opportunities to accelerate the transformation of the healthcare system. At Blue Shield, we remain steadfast in our commitment to Health Reimagined – our bold, strategic plan to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare.
About data sharing
Lisa Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Data sharing and integration is essential to create a seamless and personalized experience for members navigating our complex healthcare system. When entire care teams can access real-time patient health information, they can deliver health services more accurately, faster, and with improved health outcomes. We must continue to break down walls and barriers within the healthcare ecosystem to unleash the power of data and shed light on critical issues surrounding health equity.
About diversity, equity and inclusion
Hope Scott, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary and Chair of Blue Shield’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council
Healthcare organizations will continue to play a leading role in identifying and removing systemic barriers to health equity. As the employment landscape continues to evolve and trend towards a new standard of hybrid (virtual/in-person) work, employers need to broaden their focus on diversity, equity and inclusion to accommodate the diversity of how, when and where their employees do their work. This expanded view of inclusion will ensure meaningful engagement from all employees and foster an environment where everyone feels included and valued. We understand that diversity fosters creativity, innovation and transformative thinking. Organizations that promote diversity and inclusion will have the strongest, most sustainable futures and the most loyal and satisfied customers.
About fair access
Peter Long, executive vice president, strategy and healthcare solutions
I am confident that there will be more access points to care for our members and Californians. The pandemic has taught us how to respond to the needs of our members, particularly with virtual care. In 2023, we will build on those capabilities with meaningful integrations and experiences. We do this with various hybrid models of care and work together across the healthcare system to improve equitable access to high-quality, personalized and practical experiences. We will be building a variety of new programs, services and benefits at scale as we require different solutions to meet the needs of our diverse membership base. And when it comes to providing access to health care for all Californians, state authorities will demand new ways for the health care system to provide equitable care, which we will meet, if not exceed.
Susan Fleischman, senior vice president and chief medical officer
Our healthcare system is dynamic and we need to stay on our toes and act accordingly to live up to the moment. Every day there are great scientific discoveries that can change the course of serious diseases, and there are still gaps in meeting basic needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we must continue to adapt to public health needs while improving blind spots where the system falls short. This requires the development and implementation of new, innovative approaches to how Blue Shield organizes itself and how we are committed to providing quality and equitable care to all of our California communities. We must meet members’ care needs in terms of how they would like to receive care, whether virtually, in person or via an app. Everyone deserves the care our family and friends deserve, and we will continue to define what that means locally for our members and make it accessible.
About attracting and retaining talent
Haley Mixon, senior vice president, chief human resources officer
External changes such as healthcare consolidation, inflation and tight labor markets continue to challenge how we attract, develop and retain key healthcare talent. The ‘Great Restructuring’ is causing an unprecedented talent shortage, and flexible and hybrid workplaces are here to stay. Hiring, mobility and retention remain top priorities to ensure we have the talent we need to fulfill our mission. Still, these practices need to be realigned to accommodate a limited talent pipeline and new ways of working. The industry needs to attract non-healthcare talent to fill this gap while continuing to focus on increasing diversity.
About health inequalities
Debbie ChangPresident and Chief Executive Officer of the Blue Shield of California Foundation
The healthcare industry must remain focused on learning the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shown us how pervasive health inequities are and how to address them. For example, we are seeing greater impacts of the pandemic on Black and Hispanic Californians and in low-income communities. The foundation will continue to work with organizations that address the root causes of ill health, particularly for low-income Californians of color who are most affected by health disparities.