Happy New Year! I hope healthcare leaders are paying attention to what
is going on outside of healthcare. With the potential repeal of Obamacare
grasping most of the recent healthcare headlines, it’s easy to miss
other business-worthy stories. In case you’ve missed the following,
let me get you up to speed: 1) Sears, a 123 year old retailing giant,
recently announced the closing of 150 stores, including 108 Kmart stores.
In addition, management is attempting to raise $1.5 billion to stay in
business through 2017 by selling the Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard brands.
2) The Limited, a women’s apparel chain, founded in 1963 announced
it’s done and the closure of 250 stores and elimination of 4,000
jobs. 3) Macy’s, a major retailing organization, announced the closure
of 68 stores and elimination of 10,000 positions.
On a personal note, the Macy’s announcement specifically caught my
attention as one of the locations being considered for closure is the
former Dayton Hudson building in downtown Minneapolis. For as long as
I can remember during my youth, my mother would take me to this Minnesota
retailing landmark to see the elaborate window Christmas decorations.
As we’re now living in the world of behavioral economics, we all
realize our subconscious will have a way to discount the aforementioned
events as they are largely out of sight and therefore out of mind. I’m
certain someone with expertise in retailing could provide a much more
elaborate rational for these business decisions, however, I’m sure
somewhere in the explanation would be the rise of on-line retailing. Whether
or not you’ve become an on-line shopper, it’s hard to dispute
the Amazon impact on brick-and-mortar retailers. While Amazon doesn’t
report Christmas sales, the company reported 2016 was the best ever.
The above examples are reflective of the boiling pot of water and the frog.
As long as the temperature of the water is increased slowly the frog will
sit still, increase it rapidly and the frog hops out of the pot. My assumption
is traditional retailers are gradually feeling the heat of on-line shoppers.
For The Limited it’s too late. For Sears and Macy’s, we’ll
have to wait and see. What’s this have to do with healthcare.
Recently, I’ve seen several articles regarding attempts to slow the
progression of tele-health around the U.S. An example in Texas was Teladoc,
Inc., a relatively new tele-health company, that went public in July 2015.
Going back to 2011, Teladoc and the Texas Medical Board were entangled
in litigation over Teladoc’s business model. In May 2015, a Federal
Court ruled in favor of Teladoc. On-line retailing/tele-health get the
Several years ago I became familiar with the organization, Startup Health.
Organized in 2011 with the mission: “to transform health by organizing
and investing in a global army of thousands of entrepreneurs passionate
about reinventing the future of health.” Each quarter a report summarizing
funding in the digital health environment reflects where and what bets
investors are placing in the health/healthcare world. These are the potential
disrupters of the future. I hope I got your attention.