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It’s Time to Unbreak Healthcare

by Tim O'Brien, Chief Marketing Officer, athenahealth

Healthcare is failing us. It delivers marginal results compared to the rest of the world, leaves patients dissatisfied, providers burned out—all at a cost of more than three trillion dollars a year.  Technology—and software in particular—has created as many problems for healthcare as it has solved. Unlike other industries where technology has brought efficiencies to our lives, healthcare has driven us in the opposite direction. Providers have lost productivity while going digital, compromising the most fundamental aspect of doctoring: time with patients.

All this leads to one simple conclusion, and from it, our new brand promise:

Unbreak healthcare.


At athenahealth, we’ve long believed we need to expose key points of failure – including our own – so we can set about fixing them. So, we’re about to get up close and personal with our industry—warts and all.

Today marks the beginning of our new campaign to jolt the industry into experiencing what is broken in healthcare. The issues we’ll tackle are topical and for many, painfully familiar. In one darkly funny video, we’ll feature a boardroom where healthcare executives celebrate mass market adoption of their software, even as they hear about the struggles of providers trying to use it. This scenario, like others we’ll depict, is ripped from the headlines. “It’s not an intuitive program, it’s incredibly complex,” one provider recently told the Boston Globe about his organization’s electronic health record system. Headlines from across the country reveal that we have a real software issue: Providers are angry and frustrated. Information-sharing across healthcare settings remains elusive; and associated financial losses are forcing some health systems to the brink of collapse.  

Beyond software, the unbreak campaign will take on the government’s series of false starts, sluggishness, and waste.  We’re not doing this to point fingers or pin the blame.  Healthcare’s current state is the work of a vast array of good intentions by well-meaning people on both sides of the political aisle. But fixing health care is a bipartisan mission. Our hope is that with a little truth-telling and humor we can reignite the fire in the bellies of the masses to drive directed and meaningful change.  

Over the course of the next few weeks and months, athenahealth will be expressing our commitment to unbreak healthcare through a variety of public-facing initiatives:

  1. A series of satirical short films that point out critical breakdowns in healthcare.
  2. Conversations on social media to inspire what unbroken healthcare moments look like.
  3. A new web publication called athenaInsight which will tap into our vast network data to share inspiring examples and actionable insights to unbreak healthcare.
 
Unbreak is a rallying cry for the industry, but it’s also a new way of framing what athenahealth aspires to do for providers, and to highlight our vision for what unbroken healthcare can look and feel like:

  1. Total connectedness across the continuum of care  
  2. Humanity brought back to the moment of care   
  3. Aligned incentives to drive the right outcomes

Everyone knows healthcare is broken.  With the Unbreak campaign, we’re just shining a bright, harsh light on it —and laughing at the absurdity of the system.  But though we embrace humor, we couldn’t be more serious about our desire to address and fix what’s broken.

We hope you’ll join us in the commitment to unbreak healthcare. We’re starting a conversation on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Share your commitment along with us by posting to your own social channels with: I pledge to #unbreakhealthcare. Count me in, @athenahealth. http://bit.ly/timetounbreak

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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Comments

Submitted by Gray Erlacher - Thursday, June 23, 2016

$3 Trillion a year is about $10,000 a year for every American citizen. We could provide quality healthcare for every American, not just those wealthy enough to afford insurance or poor enough to get Medicaid. Physicians spend most of their time now meeting the needs of insurance companies and government agencies, instead of meeting the needs of patients.

Submitted by Robert White - Thursday, June 16, 2016

Not impressed with EHR's. Much more work. Much less productive. Z-DoggMD correct.

Submitted by Beverly Tyree - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

As part of an electronic health record implementation for a large healthcare system, I was thrilled at the possible innovation and improvement but saddened by the loss of heart that followed. Technology was not the problem but was the catalyst for all that led to the loss of humanity - meaningful use measures, KPI's, patient centered medical care. These are well-intended but the result is robot-like providers that are focused on numbers rather than patients. Bravo for talking about the elephant in the room.

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