The IFTF Blog
Game starts January 8! Play to reinvent the Future of the Hospital.
For 24 hours, starting January 8 at 9am PST, play the Future of the Hospital game to help reinvent the community hospital.
What if your hospital wasn't there when you needed it most ...?
For over 100 years, the hospital has been the core of our healthcare system, and a pillar of every community—the central hub where people enter and leave this world, and where scientific discoveries become life saving procedures.
But in the last couple decades, technological, social and economic forces have chipped away at this model. As these trends continue—making traditional clinical environments punishingly expensive to run, and increasingly less necessary for many healthcare needs—the future of the community hospital is uncertain.
This is the premise of our new Foresight Engine game on the Future of the Hospital—join us for this 24-hour collaborative forecasting event starting at 12pm EST (9am PST) January 8!
So, hospital futurists, here’s our 1st pre-game challenge:
Construct a 21st Century safety-net system that is fair, economically sustainable and delivers high-quality emergency care services to all in need.
You are fortunate if the first time you step foot in your local hospital it’s because you are touring its maternity and newborn ward. You are fortunate if, when your daughter sprained her ankle during a weekend soccer game, your local hospital had an open emergency room and your daughter’s injury was treated within two hours. You are fortunate if the first time you were admitted to a hospital, it was for a scheduled, elective surgical procedure. You are even more fortunate if during all of those visits, you were covered under a private insurance plan.
Perhaps your good fortune has allowed you to remain blissfully unaware of the severe challenges others face in accessing good care at hospitals. However, these challenges are a big part of what will shape the future of the hospital in the next decade. For one, emergency departments (EDs) and trauma centers are closing. From 1990 to 2009, the number of hospitals with EDs in non-rural areas declined 27%, from 2446 to 1779. ED closures have strained the capacity of operating EDs, resulting in overcrowding and patient boarding. A 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) study reported that “ambulances are turned away from emergency departments once every minute on average and patients in many areas may wait hours or even days for a hospital bed.” What’s more, many of the so-called safety net hospitals that serve the vulnerable populations face significant reductions in state and local government subsidies and Medicaid payments. These reductions in revenue threaten their future financial health and, thus, their ability to keep the doors of their Emergency Departments open.
The IOM sums up the reality of the nation’s emergency medical system as “overburdened, underfunded, and highly fragmented."
We see it ripe for change.
Dr. Renee Hsia, an attending physician in the emergency department at San Francisco General Hospital has written, “It is critical to determine whether and how to engage society in decisions to maintain or close EDs and other safety-net services.”
We see the Foresight Engine on Future of the Hospital as a platform to enable that national dialogue.
To jumpstart your thinking, here are some provocative questions to consider:
- Should hospital relocations and closures be stopped through the legal or political systems? What if minority communities could sue to prevent a hospital closure?
- What if the drop in operating EDs across the country is a positive sign of market forces at work, creating a more efficient healthcare system?
- Could EMTALA (the act that requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency health treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay) be strengthened to restrict closures in medically underserved areas?
- What would a digital layer in emergency care services look like?
- What if we were to build emergency care centers just for seniors, or just for children?
Start the conversation on Twitter @FutureHospitals or #FutureHospitals.
Then, play the game on January 8—9!
Pre-game Challenges 2 & 3
- Challenge 2: Reimagine the hospital as a center for community well-being, not just a place to get treatment for illness.
- Challenge 3: Reimagine the hospital as a focal point for closing the gap between scientific discovery and improved health outcomes.
- California Healthline: How Can Hospitals Thrive in Future?
- Healthcare Informatics: Crowd-Sourcing Ideas About the Future of the Hospital
- Boing Boing: Future of Hospitals Online Forecasting Game