Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the 2014 ACMHA: College for Behavioral Health Leadership Summit. The theme of our time together was “Leading into the Future.” So what did I learn? To put it simply: today’s providers are not ready for what’s coming. We are trying to shift to a new paradigm in healthcare using the very values and approaches that were cultivated during the “old world” paradigm. Times have since changed–technology has eliminated place-based limitations through its products of instant communication, and not only is the scale of data available larger, people’s needs are different–but our leadership and practices have not. If we expect to keep the system afloat and combat rising costs and poor outcomes, Integrated Care must become mandatory.
The question to ask ourselves is what can we do? The first step is education. Educate yourself about the tangible possibility of what could be. Next, look to the future. Start to think about how things should be rather than getting bogged down thinking about how things are or used to be. By looking at the future through the lens of our ideals, we can begin to take bold new steps. Take telemedicine, real-time access to complete healthcare trends and clinical care solutions, true continuous quality improvement efforts that are not annual but minute-by-minute, and collaborative care as a member of a team that focuses on all facets of healthcare, including behavioral. The future success of our efforts will be the success of population-based health. Your future is in future-proofing yourself today, so you can stay ahead of the curve and not fall victim to unexpected turns along the way. Be accountable, be marketable, be aware of what is happening, be an information-based decision making entity, and be part of the change with collaborative agreements and interoperability capabilities.