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Healthcare’s Trillion-Dollar Disruption – Lessons in Disruptive Technology

This article was first published on 24 June 2013.

This is a really comprehensive article from Forbes Magazine about the healthcare industry but it’s full of more general lessons about industry disruption that apply no matter what industry you’re in.

A few points are worth commenting on:

  1. The first are it’s observations about the fact that industry boundaries are rapidly crumbling.  This is a feature of technological disruption that strategists and leaders really struggle with.  The temptation is to continue thinking of an industry in terms of its traditional boundaries, competitors and rules.  In this kind of environment the key is what “future relevant” capabilities you and other organisations have not who is on your list of traditional competitors.
  2. The author makes reference to predictions that half of hospitals in the U.S. will close by 2020. He also refers to evidence from Denmark where nearly 70 percent of hospitals closed as they made the shift from a reactive, sick-care model to proactive care model.  These are big predictions.  Only time will tell whether the impact of disruptive technology on healthcare will be this profound but, given experience with other industries, it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.
  3. The author also specifically predicts three “waves of disruption” for healthcare between now and 2025.  No doubt there will be those in 2025 who argue that the disruption was sudden, that it happened overnight and that there was no way they could have seen it coming.  The reality is, just as the author predicts, that most disruptions don’t happen overnight.  They take time and for those with a willingness to look at what’s happening around them the signs are often evident long before the point of real disruption arrives.

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