Highlights from the 2019 Dixie Institute Conference

“Disruptive Healthcare, Consumerism & Innovation” was the theme this February at the annual conference of the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s Region V in Mobile, Alabama.

The Region V Dixie Institute is one of the longest-running HFMA conferences. The setting was appropriate for this, the group’s 50th gathering, since it was in Mobile that the region’s first conference was held, in 1969.

Created for thought leaders in the healthcare industry, the four-day conference provided opportunities for C-suite professionals, directors, physician groups and healthcare partners to enjoy informative and inspiring seminars, peer-to-peer discussions, and networking opportunities.

Monday’s topic was Disruptive Healthcare and featured an engaging keynote address by Jim Bouchard. Known as “The Sensei Leader,” Bouchard speaks around the world on the subject of leadership. He offered attendees some high-level thoughts as well as actionable strategies:

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.

—Tom Peters

You grow as a leader, and as a person, in direct proportion to what you’re willing to share with others.

—The Sensei Leader

Gallup asked 10,000 people what qualities are most important in a leader. Their answers:

  • Compassion
  • Trust
  • Stability
  • Hope

Perfection is not a destination, it’s a never-ending process.

A talk on Tuesday by Dr. Marc Sweeney entitled “Will The Consumer Market Disrupt Healthcare?” brought together a number of the conference’s themes. He began by assessing the current state of healthcare:

  • Many forecast disruption
  • Many have opinions about what that will look like
  • Many are attempting to be that disruption
  • What will disruption look like?
  • Why is the stage set for disruption?

He cited some statistics in answer to this last question:

  • 88% of those under age 40 aren’t happy with the technology hospitals are using and how they’re using it
  • 84% are seeking the most technologically advanced healthcare providers they can find

And he identified four factors that disruption is accelerating in health care:

  • Health care delivery is attracting diverse and impressive new players
  • New players are targeting an important, unmet need in the market
  • New players are shaping innovations to disrupt traditional health care delivery
  • The global market for population health management solutions is growing fast

Sweeney also identified the technologies that will have the biggest impact on health care going forward:

  • Telemedicine
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Interoperability
  • Data Analytics
  • Mobile Data

Under the heading “IT Disruption for 2019,” Sweeney shared these observations, drawn from The 5 Health IT Trends That Will Drive Disruption in 2019:

  • “The patient and family are firmly in the center now, and that’s driving a lot of disruption…”
  • “We’ve seen an acceleration of consumers running out of patience with the challenges they have engaging with the system…”
  • Consumers’ desire for ease in finding and engaging health care professionals

Another consumer-focused presentation offered these directives for overcoming barriers to consumerism:

  • Make basic information more accessible
  • Increase cooperation between plans and providers
  • Decrease forms and questions
  • Improve price transparency
  • Simplify bureaucracy
  • Encourage shared decision making

The subject of advances in IT was a recurring theme throughout the conference:

  • Consumers expect a modernized physician/patient interaction
  • More than 50% are comfortable contacting a physician digitally
  • 56% would use some form of tech to interact with care providers
  • 36% would use an at-home diagnostic test kit

But the dangers and downsides of healthcare tech innovation were also on presenters’ minds. Paul Perry gave a presentation called “Understanding Cyber Security Awareness.” And a seminar by Gerry Blass and Robert Babin was titled “It’s Not Just IT: Why Cybersecurity and Risk Management Needs a Multi-Disciplinary Approach.”

Other presentations of note: John Mendez and Michele Napier of Orlando Health gave a talk on selecting the right business partner. Dr. Jacque Sokolov presented on the topic “Management of Transformative Healthcare Trends.” And Wednesday’s general sessions kicked off with James Paat, President of InXite Health, speaking about “Innovation Opportunities Impacting The ‘New Normal’ of Healthcare.”

The 2019 Dixie Institute was a lively, well-attended affair, with a Mardi Gras carnival feeling in the air. You can read more about the conference, and download slides from many of the presentations, at the organization’s website.

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