After teetering between an ‘endemic’ and a ‘tripledemic’ amid the rise of digital care and soaring inflation, we asked President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Markovich and members of his leadership team to predict what’s ahead for the healthcare industry and Blue Shield in 2023.
On Reshaping the System
Paul Markovich, president and chief executive officer
While the shift to value-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 grapple with a shortage of healthcare workers and the ripple effects of the pandemic. They are now requesting higher prices for services, but there is a better way. We have an opportunity to reshape 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 health care in 2023 is finding the new normal after the Public Health Emergency expires. A “normal” level of healthcare usage will be established while the cost pressures on providers and payers brought by inflation will continue. Low-cost, high-quality care options are likely to expand and evolve. The industry must also keep driving improved access to mental health tools and resources through virtual and in-person choices. These challenges give 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 health care.
On Data Sharing
Lisa Davis, senior vice president and chief information officer
Data sharing and integration are imperative to creating a seamless and personalized experience for members navigating our complex healthcare system. When entire care teams are empowered with real-time access to patient health information, they deliver healthcare services with more precision, speed, and improved health outcomes. We must continue to break down walls and barriers within the healthcare ecosystem to unleash the power of data and illuminate critical issues surrounding health equity.
On Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Hope Scott, senior vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary, and head of Blue Shield's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leadership Council
Healthcare organizations will continue to play a leading role in identifying and working to eliminate systemic barriers to health equity. As the employment landscape continues to evolve, trending toward a new standard of hybrid (virtual/in-person) work, employers will have to expand their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focus to encompass the diversity of how, when, and where their employees get their work done. This expanded view of inclusiveness will ensure meaningful engagement of all employees, fostering an environment where everyone will feel a sense of belonging and value. We understand that diversity fosters creativity, innovation, and transformative thinking. Organizations that promote diversity and inclusion will have the strongest, most sustainable future and the most loyal and satisfied customers.
On Equitable Access
Peter Long, executive vice president, Strategy and Health Solutions
I am confident that there will be more access points for care for our members and Californians. The pandemic taught us how to respond to the needs of our members, particularly with virtual care. In 2023, we will build out these capabilities with meaningful integrations and experiences. We are doing this with various hybrid care models, collaborating across the healthcare system to increase equitable access to quality, personalized, and convenient experiences. We will build a variety of new programs, services, and benefits at scale, as we need different solutions that speak to the needs of our diverse member base. And, when it comes to access to health care for all Californians, state agencies will require new ways for the healthcare system to provide equitable care, which we’ll meet, if not exceed.
Susan Fleischman, senior vice president and chief medical officer
Our healthcare system is dynamic, and we must stay on our toes and act accordingly to meet the moment. Great scientific discoveries are happening every day that can change the course of serious illnesses, and there are still gaps in meeting basic needs. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that we must continue adapting to public health needs while simultaneously improving blind spots where the system is falling short. This requires developing and deploying new, innovative approaches for how Blue Shield organizes itself and how we show up for quality, equitable care for all of our California communities. We need to meet members' care needs in terms of how they want to receive care, whether virtual, in-person or via an app. Everyone deserves care worthy of our family and friends, and we will continue to define what that means on the ground for our members and make it accessible.
On Attracting and Retaining Talent
Haley Mixon, senior vice president, chief human resources officer
External shifts, such as consolidation in the healthcare system, inflation, and tight labor markets, continue to challenge how we attract, develop, and retain key talent in the healthcare industry. The “great reshuffle” is causing unprecedented talent shortages, 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 achieve our mission. Still, these practices must be reframed to address a limited talent pipeline and new ways of working. The industry must attract talent outside healthcare to fill this gap while continuing to focus on increasing diverse representation.
On Healthcare Disparities
Debbie Chang, president and chief executive officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation
The healthcare industry needs to remain focused on learning the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has shown us the depth of health inequities and what’s possible to address them. We see greater impacts of the pandemic on Black and Latino Californians, for example, and in low-income communities. The Foundation will continue to partner with organizations that tackle the root causes of poor health, especially for Californians of color with low incomes who are the most affected by health disparities.