How health institutions in South Florida are adapting to industry change and creating new ways of delivering care

Steven Altschuler CEO – UHealth

What distinguishing trends mark the South Florida health care market?

Broadly speaking, we should all expect significant transformation in the health care market. We will continue to see consolidation in all segments of the market, from national insurers to local providers. Finally, the federal and state governments will exert significant influence over the patient care model through Medicare, Medicaid and the exchanges.

In South Florida, the population is distinctly older than other parts of the country, resulting in the highest Medicare cost structure in the U.S. At the same time, Florida is now the fastest-growing state in the country, which also makes it an attractive health care market. These two demographic factors will result in consolidation and disruption of the provider and insurance markets. New care models will be implemented that improve access, quality and outcomes and simultaneously reduce cost. The South Florida region will also become a hub for international medical tourism as the care model changes and the cost of care is reduced.

UHealth is both a care provider and an educational institution. How is medical education evolving to keep pace with new models of care?

The care model is evolving to become more patient-centered (ideal patient experience) with dramatic increases in outpatient care and significant decreases in inpatient bed capacity. Inpatient facilities will become highly regionalized and will be primarily devoted to intensive care services and complex medical and surgical care. Medical students are now being trained in this new care model and are being exposed to its hallmarks of new technologies and new sites of care. This exposure is driving the increased focus on simulation experiences and the construction of new educational centers where students can practice using advanced technology.

As an incoming CEO to UHealth, what are your top priorities?

UHealth is South Florida’s only academic health system with the tripartite mission of clinical care and population health management, translational patient-oriented research and medical education. The health system will evolve quickly to become an integrated, value-based, translational enterprise focusing on tertiary and quaternary care—the ideal patient experience and cutting-edge patient-oriented research that moves quickly from the “bench” to the “bedside.” UHealth’s ultimate goal is to improve the health status of the South Florida community.