Welcome to the finals! We are down to the Top Four remaining contenders in this tournament: 

  • Cost Cutting Strategies – a scrappy newcomer four seed out of the powerhouse Healthcare Economy region.
  • Affordability – a three-time tournament player and second seed out of the Purchasers region, making it farther than ever before.
  • Primary Care Transformation – a four-seed rookie taking the sport by storm this year out of the Clinical & Business Model region.
  • Cybersecurity – a six-seed Cinderella out of the Digital Tools & Technology region with a real shot at taking home top honors as the most influential healthcare trend of 2023.

To dissect the influential power of these teams, one Committee Member suggested analyzing how many resources and mindshare each one consumes within the healthcare ecosystem. 

Another added “Yes – and what level of effort and impact does each offer?” 

A third chimed in, “I’m going with the number of headlines I predict each will have this year.”

Read on to see how these final matchups played out, and who was ultimately crowned champion.

Explore the interactive bracket and watch the tournament unfold weekly on our LinkedIn page, where you can join the discussion too!

Vying for a Spot in the Championship Game: Do Headlines Still Take the Day?

Primary Care Transformation Boots Cybersecurity 

“We have outpriced healthcare for the average consumer.” 

“Primary care needs to play the role that it is designed to play: longitudinal relationships with people to keep them healthy. You win when patients don’t need downstream care,” said one Committee Member, who continued, “Fifty-six percent of Americans cannot afford a $1,000 medical bill. We have outpriced healthcare for the average consumer.” 

This Committee Member took issue with the possible championship matchup of Primary Care Transformation (4) versus Affordability, which they see as an unfair contest. 

Going against one Committee Member’s strategy of choosing a winner based on predicted headlines, the other Committee Members conceded that there would be many more headlines about Cybersecurity (6) this year than Primary Care Transformation, but that Primary Care Transformation was by far creating much more influential activity across all of healthcare.

Primary Care Transformation secures a championship bid, booting our only Cinderella out of the tournament after a heroic run as a six-seed to make it to the Top Four.

Cost Cutting Strategies Knocks Out Affordability

Two broad sweeping trends take on each other in this battle of equals, which could be seen as two sides of the same coin. But the question to answer is: Which trend will be on the lips of leaders this year more than the other? 

Cost cutting doesn’t necessarily lead to patient affordability.

While most Committee Members voted for Cost Cutting Strategies (4) because they say it’s a popular trend to achieve Affordability (2), the holdout member pointed out that cost cutting doesn’t necessarily lead to patient affordability – just as easily it can increase the cost of care. For example, closing a clinic or ending a service line can be a cost cutting measure that increases costs for patients, who now have to travel longer distances and take more time off of work in order to get care. The reason to cut costs now is to stay solvent, not to contribute to patient affordability, emphasized one Committee Member.

In a 4-1 win, Cost Cutting Strategies takes the day and secures the second championship spot in the March Healthcare Classic. 

The Championship Game: Choosing What Is Over What We Wish It to Be  

We have arrived at the March Healthcare Classic Championship, with two four-seed contenders coming in with identical 4-1 scores to arrive at this moment. One represents a pessimistic standpoint – Cost Cutting Strategies to stay afloat – while Primary Care Transformation represents optimism and a strong solution for the future. 

From 32 to two trends, our Selection Committee expressed surprise at Primary Care Transformation’s success in this tournament but not with Cost Cutting Strategies, a team in the Healthcare Economy region, which all identified as the strongest region in the tournament.

Cost Cutting Strategies was the obvious favorite going into the vote, even as the Committee bemoaned this victory, with one member wanting to send the message that “we proceed with caution and that we don’t sacrifice quality and safety as we get out our red pens.” 

“I would love for this story to be around material strides in value-based care, but I think the immediacy of the financial challenges in front of us is too dire to ignore.”

The discussion led one Committee Member to muse, “How are hospitals making it in the current economic environment? What will happen to the acute care hospitals in America over the next few years?”

The good news, one Committee Member said, is that a rough market is ripe for disruptors, expressing optimism for what will come as a result and on the other side of the upheaval we are experiencing now.

In a reluctant, unanimous vote, Cost Cutting Strategies is crowned 2023 March Healthcare Classic Champion. 

What’s your take?

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This is commentary from our 2023 March Healthcare Classic. Explore this year’s interactive bracket to see the most impactful healthcare trends face off.