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HOUSTON, Texas — Extending the theme of my Wednesday post, The Future of Healthcare:  Going Out On A Limb, some hospital executives have confided that there are days, weeks, even months, in which they feel like they are caught up in a distracting game of musical chairs.  They know the music is going to stop and that there will not be enough chairs for everyone to sit down safely.

So, they move cautiously around the line of chairs hoping they can pick up a hint of when the music will stop.

Healthcare reform and deficit reduction will fuel significant change to markets, large and small, from San Diego to Bangor, Maine.  No one will be able to dodge this bullet.  The smaller hospitals are worrying about finding a compatible strategic partner to help them weather the storm of transformation.  The large health systems and tertiary care hospitals face their own set of dilemmas, trying to figure out when various tipping points will occur – shift to value-based reimbursement, capitation through bundled payments and, of course, the reduction of old school inpatient revenue streams through wellness initiatives/population health management.  While we watch these market realities unfolding, none of us knows how this will play out or when that moment will arrive.  I use the royal “we” because these changes will impact the whole spectrum of healthcare vendors, including executive recruiters.  Anyone who doesn’t understand this reality is probably smoking something that is only legal in Colorado.

The more these health system and hospital executives know, the better off they will be when trying to divine which way to leap, and whose hand they should hold.  They all see the big stories carried in the various trade journals and market research reports.  What they may not see, but also need to pay attention to, are the smaller developments and trends that could help them fill in the blanks.  This is a space where smart vendors who understand the real importance of the term value-add can make an important contribution.

The smart vendors will be those who invest in mining this type of information.  They are companies that invest in analysts, not to rehash the news reports, but to look for the connected smaller facts and plans and to spot innovation, and to share that knowledge before it falls into the category of ‘yeah, everyone knows that.’

Know your clients, respect that they are battling information overload every day of every week.  Be a good curator of information.  Look for the off-the-grid information and insights that will help them solve problems or identify those golden concepts that will yield better quality, lower costs with happier customers – the patient.

In other words, attempting to sell them something they may not want, or may not need, is a losing proposition for both sides.  Information and insight are very valuable.  Share it.

By the way, my Houston Astros won two in a row from Texas, winning a series from their DFW rivals for the first time since 2008.  On top of that, this extraordinary city has experienced two glorious weather days.

Life is good.