"This is going to be the difficult challenging transition period for everybody involved, for consumers, insurance companies, providers, all of us," Connolly says. "The mile marker I sometimes look to when is we moved from pensions to 401(k)s and that was about a decade until we had the vast majority of Americans in 401(k)s. We are already a year or two into this shift and things today happen a little faster but it's hard to say."
So what are traditional healthcare providers supposed to do in the next few years to weather the transition?
"We often advise the smaller- to medium-sized systems in particular to look for the smart partnerships and relationships and alliances," Connolly says.
"Can you affiliate with a larger entity that takes some of your more complex cases or that maybe has capital available to help you invest? Maybe you partner with a retail entity in your region and you share in the most basic care. It's really starting to head in that direction with population health, thinking about value and looking honestly outside of your own four walls for the smart partnerships."
Connolly recalls meeting with a group of primary care physicians recently who expressed unease about their role in the changing healthcare delivery landscape.
"I said to them, we want to be heading into a world where you are doing fewer procedures over and over again, but there is going to be a care team in the community and you are going to be the ones to direct the other players. That is where more physicians need to orient themselves in the future. They'll no longer do every single procedure. Patients are going to do a lot of it in their own homes but they will still look to the doctor as a trusted advisor."