Christel Slaughter: Baton Rouge’s health care landscape in flux

Health care has changed drastically in the past few years, not just in Baton Rouge, but all over the world. The pandemic is a driving factor, but millennials getting older along with the “retailizaton” of health care have shifted providers’ focus, too. 

That’s according to Christel Slaughter, CEO of SSA Consultants, who spoke at the Rotary Club luncheon today about the future of health care in the region.  

Health care is changing from a volume-based industry to a value-based one, she says. Hospitals used to emphasize keeping their facilities full of patients, but now they are working to treat patients outside of the expensive hospital setting. In value-based health care, Slaughter says, physicians focus more on improving patient outcomes.

This has been popular elsewhere, she says, but is more recently taking hold in Baton Rouge. “We were late to that party in my opinion,” Slaughter says.

Other drivers include technology and innovation like telehealth.

The health care industry has shifted to providing for patients in ways similar to how retailers cater to customers. Medical institutions are trying to attract selective and cost-conscious clients by offering more flexible schedules and being more transparent about the cost of care. People continue to be attracted to convenient and cost-effective sites for care like retail clinics and virtual care. 

Millennials are more likely to use urgent care as a substitute for a primary care physician, Slaughter says. They often judge a hospital by how quickly their website loads, and believe nothing is too good for their child. Millennials are more likely to drive over 100 miles for superior care, she says.

Slaughter also sees more of an emphasis on team structure in the future, saying that the new model for health care will be a team working together to make patient experiences better, including pharmacists and nurse practitioners.