Joe Flower Profile

Many people regard the future of health care in the United States as one of the most important question in the nation. With over thirty years of experience researching, speaking and writing on healthcare topics, Joe Flower is one of the most sought after voice in the field.

Joe has worked with the World Health Organization, the Global Business Network and the National Health Service in the UK as well as most of the state hospital associations in the USA and Canada. He has also worked with professional associations, pharmaceutical companies and many other key players in the healthcare world. His insights into the changes to be expected in future have been sought by the US Department of Defense, Airbus, ArianeSpace and high-level institutions in China.

The author of literally hundreds of healthcare articles, Joe was a contributing editor and columnist at Healthcare Forum Journal for more than two decades. He moved with that publication to become a regular columnist in the American Hospital Association’s Hospitals and Health Networks Daily. He is a member of the same institution’s speaking faculty as well as being on the board of the Centre for Health Design. Other outlets for his writing have included Wired Magazine, and as well as many books. Joe is a founding member of the International Health Futures Network.

Joe has interviewed many of the world’s greatest experts on organizational change. His abiding interest in these philosophies led him to extend his studies into chaos theory, Eastern thought and martial arts; he is a black belt in Ueshiba Akido.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    With over 30 years’ experience, Joe Flower has emerged as a premier observer and thought leader on the deep forces changing healthcare in the United States and around the world. As a healthcare speaker, writer, and consultant, he has explored the future of healthcare with clients ranging from the World Health Organization, the Global Business Network, and the U.K. National Health Service, to the majority of state hospital associations in the U.S. as well as many of the provincial associations and ministries in Canada, and an extraordinary variety of other players across healthcare – professional associations, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, health plans, physician groups, and numerous hospitals. He has been a consultant on change and the future with the U.S. Department of Defense, Airbus and ArianeSpace, and a number of governments in China.

    Flower is the author of hundreds of healthcare articles. For over 20 years he was a contributing editor and regular columnist at the Healthcare Forum Journal. When the Healthcare Forum became the Health Forum of the American Hospital Association, he went on to a regular column in the AHA’s Hospitals and Health Networks Daily. He is member of the AHA’s Health Forum’s speaking faculty, and serves on the board of the Center for Health Design.

    Flower was a contributing writer for Wired Magazine in its explosive early years, and a columnist for the pioneering health websites and

    His deep research into the nature of change in organizations and people led to interviews with the top thinkers on organizational change, from Peter Drucker to Peter Senge and Ari de Geus. He went deeper, into the study of chaos theory, Eastern thought, and martial arts, eventually earning a black belt in Ueshiba Aikido.

    Flower was a founding member of the International Health Futures Network and the principal author of the landmark healthcare forecast, “Technological Advances and the Next 50 Years of Cardiology,” Journal of the American College of Cardiology (vol. 35, no. 4, 2000).

    His other writings include:

      • China’s Futures, Global Business Network 2000 (co-author)
      • The 21st Century Healthcare Leader, Jossey-Bass 1999 (co-author)
      • Japan’s Futures, Global Business Network 1998 (Executive Editor)
      • Leading Change: A Key Challenge for Board-Management Teams, The Governance Institute, 1998
      • The Encyclopedia of the Future, MacMillan, 1996 (co-author)
      • Best Practices in Collaboration to Improve Health: Creating Community Jazz, (principal co-author), The Healthcare Forum and the California Wellness Foundation, 1996
      • Prince of the Magic Kingdom: Michael Eisner and the Re-Making of Disney, John Wiley 1991
      • Age Wave, Random House 1989 (co-author)

Joe Flower Speaking Videos

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Joe Flower's Speech Descriptions

Joe offers a range of talks on various healthcare subjects, all of which are backed with extraordinary experience, in-depth research and an abiding passion for improving healthcare for everyone.

Joe analyses trends in healthcare and explains what we can expect in the future: addressing the “physician crisis” and the future of healthcare after reform, amongst other subjects. Not only are Joe’s presentations essential for anyone who cares about the future of healthcare in the United States, but his tips and strategies for reducing the cost of healthcare provisions are absolutely invaluable for any employer who provides a health plan.

Pushing Healthcare to the Tipping Point: A Handbook for the Revolutionaries

Healthcare is changing rapidly — but into what? Getting it to the tipping point where the entire system becomes both much better and vastly cheaper is an all-hands-on-deck exercise. It’s not something we can leave to Washington, or to healthcare leaders alone. It calls for action by clinicians, healthcare leaders and insurers, but also employers, investors, state and local governments, and even ordinary voters, patients, and consumers — you. And on the way we can all get better healthcare for less. Here’s the playbook and the toolkit.

[Best for: Any audience interested in healthcare, including civic groups, healthcare systems and medical groups, insurers, healthcare supply chain organizations, healthcare professionals, employers, investors, consumer groups. Customized for your group.]

The New Healthcare Revolutionaries:
Employers, Investors, Municipalities, Consumers, You

If you are purchasers of healthcare, or investors, if you’re a consumer group buying health coverage, or local governments making planning decisions you need to understand the historically unique moment in healthcare that you’re operating in now. If you want both much lower costs and much better care, you have to know how the choices you make now determine what will available to you in one year, three years, five years. Healthcare organizations, whether insurers, hospital systems, group practices, even health tech manufacturers, are undergoing massive changes and are looking for new ways to do business. Find out what drives them. Discover the impressive superpowers that you — employers, state and local governments, communities, and consumers — have available to you as soon as you unlock them.

[Best for: Purchasers of and investors in healthcare, including civic groups, local and state government groups, insurers, employers, investors and inventors in health tech, health tech user groups, consumer groups. Customized for your group.]

Volume to Value: The Path to the New World of Healthcare

We’re going there: Everyone agrees that bit by bit, by leaps and slides, we are abandoning fee-for-service and moving toward “value-based purchasing.” We are changing the entire basis of the business of healthcare, the revenue flows and cost structures that have kept us alive up until now. But what does “volume to value” mean exactly? What are the steps toward getting to value? How do we survive the transition? What does this Promised Land even look like? How will we know when we are there? What are the challenges, what are the metrics, which are the best models for your particular organization to follow? How can you tell you’re succeeding? Who will be your allies? Perhaps most important, how can you help your team, your leadership, your people to move in concert in the right direction?

[Best for: Healthcare systems and medical groups, insurers, healthcare supply chain organizations, healthcare professionals, state hospital associations. Customized for your group.]

Follow the Money:
Tracking What’s Working and What’s Not
In the Shift from Volume to Value

Okay, we are moving from “volume to value,” from fee-for-service to various kinds of risk-based contracts, value-based purchasing, and accountable care financial structures. Fine. The revenue flows, cost structures, capital requirements of the Next Healthcare are completely different and vastly more complex than the ways that we are trained in and have experience with. How do you know when you’re making money? How do you know when you’re just burning your seed corn? How do you leverage legacy investments in plant, personnel, and tech? How do you forecast next year, let alone five years from now? Most importantly, the systemic feedback loops can be confounding, as success with population health management can seriously cut into acute and ED revenues, for instance — but by how much? How soon?

What are the state-of-the-art models for forecasting costs and revenues in this rapidly changing environment? Is anyone doing it right? Where do you go for help? These are bet-the-company questions. If we don’t answer them, we don’t have a future.

[Best for: Healthcare systems and medical groups, insurers, state hospital associations, healthcare financial managers. Customized for your group.]

Healthcare 2020-2030:
Imagining a Day in the Life of the Next Healthcare

We are going somewhere fast in healthcare. “Volume to value,” new patient-centered tech, big data, population health management, seamless coordination — what will it look like if all these reforms and tech shifts actually work? Does the whole thing actually work? What does the Next Healthcare look like, day to day, for clinicians, healthcare leaders, patients, parents, employers? In this talk we take the imaginative journey and you’ll learn how to make the choices that will get you where you want to go.

[Best for: Any audience interested in healthcare. Customized for your group.]

FutureDoc 2020-2030: A Day in the Life

In 2015 we are re-defining what it means to be doctor in ways that are both astonishingly futuristic and classical. How different will it be? How will you make a living? Will it ever get easier? What will tech do the job? What parts of the job will be turned over to robots, sensors, and algorithms? Take a tour of the future in detail in the actual workflow of doctors ten years or more in the future.

[Best for: Physicians and medical groups, investors and inventors in health tech, health tech user groups. Can be customized and re-framed for other providers and clinicians, especially nurses and allied health professionals.]

Getting to Seamless: What does it take?

Much of the “volume to value” image is built on seamless care coordination within and between organizations, regions, and levels of healthcare. Most organizations have trouble being transparent even to themselves. Many organizations have neither the capacity nor the inclination to truly build broad teamwork and seamless care flow. Is anyone doing it right? What does that look like? What are the elements, technically and organizationally? What’s it take?

[Best for: Healthcare systems and medical groups, insurers, healthcare supply chain organizations, healthcare professionals, state hospital associations, health tech investors and inventors. Customized for your group.]

Smart Behavioral Health Care:
A Key to Driving Costs Down and Quality Up

If you are looking for savings, that’s where the money is. If you are looking for better, earlier, more effective healthcare, that’s where the big opportunities are. Mental and behavioral health have to form a big piece of any strategy for building better and cheaper healthcare — but most of us are doing it wrong. Here’s how to do it right.

[Best for: Healthcare systems and medical groups, insurers, healthcare supply chain organizations, healthcare professionals, state hospital associations, mental/behavioral health organizations, healthy communities/public health organizations. Customized for your group.]

How Can We Think About The Future of Healthcare:
A Master Class in Methods and Pathways

I’m a futurist with a long past, gathering data, scanning for patterns, constructing testable scenarios, searching out dependencies and feedback loops for decades now. Would you like to follow along? Would you like to have more insight into your future and the future of your organization? How do you think about the future in an organized, useful way? We’ll cover the basics in this talk, including:

  • trendspotting and trend testing
  • Constructing useful scenarios
  • Spotting and challenging your own assumptions and beliefs
  • Data gathering: Sifting the firehose
  • What statistics do and do not tell you
  • The peculiar ways of complex adaptive systems: Basics of analysis

[Best for: Any audience interested in the future.]

The Next Health Care: Talks For Specific Industry Sectors

Flower regularly brings his analysis of the future to specific industry sectors and stakeholders, such as:

  • Hospitals, health care systems, and hospital associations
  • Clinics and clinic associations
  • Physician groups and other professional associations
  • Behavioral health
  • Long-term care and hospice
  • Pharmacies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Health care financial managers
  • Health plans and managed care
  • Major vendors
  • Employers
  • Investors

For each of these sectors, Flower unpacks the changes engulfing health care, and illustrates precisely how those trends and forces will re-shape the sector, re-define their part of the industry, shift their goals, their finances, their strategies, and their effectiveness.

What People are Saying about Seeing Joe Speak

Rating Entries

    “Joe was a HUGE success… presentation, personality, ability to get the group
    involved in the discussion. Great recommendation from you and I hope to
    work with you on future events.”

    Workscape, Inc.
    (Event booked by Speakers Platform)

    “Flower’s discussion of potential changes in the healthcare arena is thought-provoking as well as eye-opening, and should easily inspire leaders of an executive level.”
    Ed Colloff, M.D., Stanford Medical Center

    What I can′t get out of my mind is the impact these changes to health care are going to have to other aspects of our lives…. Your presentation contained a lot of good information at one time.
    Bill Bishop, Mission St. Joseph′s, Asheville NC

    His research and subject knowledge are without challenge. He’s done his homework and the audience, even doctors, know it.
    Jerry Lewis, Banner Healthcare, Greeley CO

    “One of the best speakers I have ever heard. “
    Diane Smith, Sutter North Medical Center

    “He inspired us and stirred our passion to act.”
    Stephanie Boles, Rancho Los Amigos

    “He brings wisdom to lead us into the future.”
    Susan Marscellas, Salinas Valley Memorial

    “Awesome speaker. “
    Patti Barnes, Sutter Davis Hospital

    “A do not miss speaker!”
    Judy Neff, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

    “What I liked most about this conference was Joe Flower′s presentation – Awesome!”
    Premier Marketing, New Orleans

    “Compelling speaker . . . essential wakeup call . . . Excellent speaker with an excellent message . . . Mind expanding . . .”
    Michigan Hospital Association members

    “On a scale of 1 to 5, 24 of the 26 attendees gave the presentation a 5. The other two gave it a 10!”
    Doug Wilson, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury MD

    “Best part of the day . . .Extremely interesting . . . I enjoyed his presentation the most . . . Very thought-provoking . . . Very outstanding . . . Excellent.”
    Salisbury attendees

    “What a great talk. We were so impressed. Your approach was perfect and your grasp of medicine was breathtaking.”
    John Sinnott, M.D. Director, Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, Tampa General Hospital

    Partial Client List.

    Johns Hopkins University
    University of California at Santa Cruz
    University of California at Berkeley
    University of California at Irvine
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
    University of Wisconsin Medical Center

    Health Care Institutions and Research Foundations
    Aria Healthcare (Philadelphia PA)
    Baltimore Washington Medical Center
    Banner Health System (Greeley CO)
    Baptist Healthcare (KY)
    Bon Secours Health System
    Carilion Health System (Roanoke, VA)
    Carolinas Healthcare
    Catholic Healthcare Initiatives (CO)
    Chattanooga Memorial Hospital (TN)
    Chestnut Hill Hospital (PA)
    Children’s Hospital (Columbus OH)
    Children’s Memorial Hospital (Chicago IL)
    Christus Health (Carlsbad CA)
    Condell Health System (Libertyville IL)
    Cuyuna Regional Medical Center (MN)
    Daniella Maria Arturi Foundation (NY)
    Exeter Hospital (NH)
    Fairview Healthcare System (Minneapolis MN)
    Feinstein Institute For Medical Research (NY)
    Grand River Health System (Waterloo ON)
    Hanover Hospital (PA)
    Holy Cross Resources
    Inland Northwest Health System (Spokane WA)
    Inova Healthcare (Fairfax County VA)
    Intermountain Healthcare (Salt Lake City)
    John Peter Smith Healthcare System (Fort Worth TX)
    Kaiser Permanente of Northern California
    Lancaster General Hospital (PA)
    Lea Regional Hospital (NM)
    Lexington Health System (SC)
    Licking Memorial Hospital (OH)
    Massachusetts General Hospital
    Memorial Hospital (South Hill VA)
    Mendocino (California) District Hospital
    Mercy Hospital (Portland ME)
    Mercy Hospitals (Iowa)
    Methodist Healthcare (Atlanta)
    Methodist Rehabilitation (MS)
    Mid-America Heart Institute (Kansas City MO)
    Morton Hospital (Taunton MA)
    Navapache Medical Center (Show Low AZ)
    North Colorado Heart Center (Greeley CO)
    North Central CareNet (OH)
    North Shore – LIJ Health System (NY)
    Northeast Hospital (Seattle WA)
    Park Nicolette Health System (Minneapolis, MN)
    Peninsula Regional Medical Center (MD)
    Pinnacle Health (PA)
    Potomac Hospital (VA)
    Preferred Care
    Pro-Medica Healthcare (Toledo OH)
    Provena Health (IL)
    Providence Healthcare (Seattle WA)
    Providence Healthcare (MI)
    Queen of the Valley Hospital (Napa CA)
    Resurrection Healthcare (Chicago IL)
    Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (CA)
    Sisters of Charity (Billings MT)
    Sparrow Health System (Lansing MI)
    SSM Health Care (St. Louis MO)
    St. Francis Healthcare System (Cape Girardeau MO)
    St. Helena Hospital (CA)
    St. John’s Health System (MO)
    St. Joseph’s Hospital (Ann Arbor MI)
    St. Joseph’s Mercy Healthcare System (Pontiac, MI)
    St. Joseph’s-Baptist (Tampa FL)
    St. Joseph’s-Candler Health System (Savannah GA)
    St. Luke’s Health Initiative (AZ)
    St. Luke’s Healthcare System (Duluth)
    St. Mary’s Hospital (MO)
    St. Rita’s Hospital (OH)
    Southwest Vermont Medical Center
    Tahoe Forest Hospital Foundation (Truckee CA)
    Tampa General Hospital (Tampa FL)
    Trillium Healthcare (Ontario, Canada)
    Volusia Health Network (FL)
    Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (Washington State)

    Companies and Agencies
    Accel Communications (La Jolla CA, San Juan PR)
    AON (Amelia Island FL, Houston TX)
    Blunt, Ellis, and Loewi (Milwaukee WI)
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts
    Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Montana
    Blue Cross/Blue Shieldof North Carolina
    Canmore Economic Development Authority (Alberta)
    Cardinal Health
    Chattanooga Memorial Hospital (TN)
    CIGNA (Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver, New York, Baltimore, Las Vegas)
    Cisco Systems
    Co-Med Communications
    Cohos/Evamy Architects (Toronto ON)
    Cordis Corporation
    Coventry/First Health
    Dean Witter
    Devenney Group (AZ)
    DST Health Solutions
    EADS NV (European Aeronautics Defence and Space)
    Fresenius Medical Care
    GE Healthcare
    Hanger Group
    Harvard Jolly Clees Toppe (Tampa FL)
    Highmark (Pennsylvania Blue Cross/Blue Shield)
    Hospital Satellite Network
    Lincoln Healthcare Events
    Los Angeles Times Health Fair
    Lyons Associates
    Managing Today’s Operating Room (Phoenix AZ, Atlanta GA)
    McKesson Corporation (Las Vegas, Amelia Island FL, Colorado Springs, Atlanta, Nashville, Washington DC)
    Medstar (MD)
    Microchip Technologies
    Novartis (Barcelona, Spain)
    Paine Webber
    Perot Systems
    Physician Associates
    Pinsonault Associates
    Relay Health
    Roche Diagnostics (Toledo OH)
    Roche Pharmaceuticals (Munich, Germany)
    Schering Laboratories
    Silicon Systems
    Strata Decision Technology
    SunTrust Bank
    UCB Pharma
    Veterans Administration (IA)
    Wolters Kluwer

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Books by Joe Flower:

    Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right for Half the Cost

    There is a secret inside healthcare, and it’s this: We can do healthcare for a lot less money. The only way to do that is to do it a lot better. We know it’s possible because it is happening now. In pockets and branches across healthcare, people are receiving better healthcare for a lot less. Some employers, states, tribes, and health systems are doing healthcare a little differently.

    Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right for Half the Cost explains how this new kind of healthcare is not about rationing and cutbacks. It’s not about getting less, it’s about getting more. Getting better and friendlier healthcare, where you need it, when you need it.

    How? The answer is mostly not in Washington, it’s not conservative or liberal. The answer is mostly not about who pays for healthcare. The answer is mostly about who gets paid, and what we pay them for.

    Healthcare Beyond Reform: Doing It Right For Half The Cost shows you how the system works. It explains how we got here, why we pay so much more than anyone else, and why we don’t get what we pay for.

    You’ll learn the five things healthcare can do to turn this around. You will see what some employers are already doing to make that happen, and what patients, families, doctors, and anyone else who cares about healthcare can do to help make it happen.

    There are only five and we need all five. All of them can be done right now, with the current healthcare system as it is. Joe Flower shows you how.

    Order Here

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