Consumers will exert more control over the direction of the health care system by the year 2020, and patients will ultimately benefit from that change. But when the dust settles, not all of today’s health care organizations will be left standing. The ones who remain will be those able to adapt to the new health care environment.

That description of health care’s future was the consensus of 30 health care executives, innovators and entrepreneurs who participated in “Better Health Twin Cities: Continuing the Conversation,” a half-day event held Jan. 22 in Minneapolis.

McKesson and LifeScience Alley, a Minneapolis-based not-for-profit organization that promotes the growth and development of the life sciences industry, co-sponsored the event. It built upon Better Health Twin Cities, a one-day event held in June that brought together local health care innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss their efforts to reshape the delivery of health care services. Attendees represented a cross-section of industry stakeholders, including providers, payers and vendors.

A major theme that emerged was the importance of patients and health care consumerism as the primary drivers of innovative changes in the way health care services are delivered and paid for in the U.S. 

During a series of interactive exercises and small group discussions, the event attendees agreed that consumers will wield radically greater influence on how health care is delivered by the year 2020. They also agreed that patients will be better off by the year 2020 in terms of access to high-quality, low-cost care.

However, not all stakeholders along the health care delivery chain will be as fortunate as these patients. Attendees recognized that the evolution in health care delivery will produce winners and losers. The organizations delivering health care in the year 2020 may not even exist today.

And some of the organizations represented at the event may have more to lose than gain in the health care system of tomorrow.

Current health care organizations that want to be important players in the system will need to change. The attendees cited a number of specific tactics that health care organizations should pursue that will enable them to change and adapt to change. Among them were: listening to consumers, sharing data, and integrating and collaborating with other stakeholders.

“Better Health Twin Cities: Continuing the Conversation” was the latest in a series of Better Health Tour events sponsored by McKesson. The series, which began in March 2013, has held stops in Portland, Boston, Minneapolis and Toronto.