17. Focus on the Boomers

We’ve all heard of the impact the Baby Boomers will have on the future of America. To that end, it could be considered surprising that more hospitals haven’t focused on the health care needs of a to-be retiring population. Medicare won’t the highest payer. But they will provide volume. Shoot, the way things are going, health care organizations may become completely dependent upon government payers for sustainability.

As health systems become more competitive, tailoring services to the needs of specific subsets of the population is appropriate. No better population to start with than one that will push 75 million + through the system.

our own system will not open a “Center for the Aging” or classes to learn how to age gracefully or anything else remotely insulting. These years for this cohort will be the first time that an entire population has lived so long. And they aren’t just existing, they’re enjoying, experiencing, and exciting.

Tom Peters has been knocking on this door for a few years now. Here is the latest post in his 100 Ways to Succeed series (#116):

Boomers! Geezers! Now!

Before the week [day?] ends, somehow or other begin a serious conversation about your attitude toward and approach to the Boomer-Geezer market.

(Like race in the world of politics, try to examine your implicit biases—eventually with the help of an outside facilitator.)

If at all applicable, consider Very Radical Alternatives—e.g., re-aligning strategy around Boomers-Geezers.

Big idea/s:

(1) It is a big idea.
(2) Stir the pot. Now.
(3) The opportunities are enormous; the response so far is pitiful.
(4) Don’t be an idiot.

Sticking with the Tom Peters theme, the preceding blog post to that above had this quote from the head of the AARP, Bill Novelli, “People turning 50 today have more than half of their adult life ahead of them.”

Wow.  Mr. Peters continuing on Boomers:

“We are the Aussies & Kiwis & Americans & Canadians. We are the Western Europeans & Japanese. We are the fastest growing, the biggest, the wealthiest, the boldest, the most (yes) ambitious, the most experimental & exploratory, the most different, the most indulgent, the most difficult & demanding, the most service & experience obsessed, the most vigorous, (the least vigorous,) the most health conscious, the most female, the most profoundly important commercial market in the history of the world—and we will be the Center of your universe for the next twenty-five years. We have arrived!”

We.
Have.
Arrived.

(Pause: read the above paragraph, until you understand)

our own system is late.  But we’re ahead of most.  Starting now, we are tailoring services for Boomers.  Period.  How?  Not so sure.  Those decisions will be left for Boomers to make.  We obviously have some work ahead.

And the best part?  It won’t take a considerable investment to get in line.  Steady growth over the next few years will allow us to successfully add and customize services as they are needed.  From the Health Beat Blog:

“In truth, the aging of the population is not a big problem,” Uwe Reinhardt says. We really don’t have to worry about greedy geezers suddenly clamoring for more care than we can afford. For one, they won’t grow old all at once. They’ll grow old just as they were born—over a period of many years.

Principle #17:  The Boomers are coming.  The Boomers are here.  The Boomers are still coming.  Theeir impact on local health care systems will be large.  And in a competitive health care world (to be), we want them at our own system.  The customization of health care services will allow us to tailor the experiences for this huge (read: important) population.

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