Posted on March 21, 2023 | 3 min read

What Does It Mean to Be a Game-Changer?


Healthcare Data


Operational Excellence

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In 1980, the Soviet Union men’s hockey team was considered unbeatable. Winners of gold medals in five of the previous six Olympic Games (and four in a row leading up to 1980), the “Red Machine” was a dominant force on the ice. Everyone believed it was impossible for Team USA to snatch Olympic gold from the Soviets—except, of course, for the otherwise unheralded players and Coach Herb Brooks. Their refusal to concede defeat to the USSR led to a 4–3 upset victory that came to be known as the “Miracle on Ice.”   

For decades, the only people thought to be capable of flying to space were military test pilots, all of whom were men. When Sally Ride joined NASA in 1978, the idea of a female astronaut was still largely unfathomable; John Glenn once argued that “The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order.” In 1983, Ride broke the stratospheric glass ceiling to become the first American woman in space and, at 32 years old, the youngest American astronaut to have ever flown in space. 

In the thousand years after Abbas ibn Firnas performed the first successful flying experiment, many inventors equaled his feat, though none surpassed it. An overwhelming majority of people believed that a controlled glide was the closest humans would ever come to flying; Orville and Wilbur Wright were not among them. Their willingness to challenge the boundaries of possibility led to the invention of the Wright Flyer and the first powered flight in a heavier-than-air craft.  

The Special Theory of Relativity. The Quantum Theory of Light. Mathematically proving the existence of atoms. The average genius could spend their entire career working towards just one of these world-changing discoveries, and they still might never accomplish it; for Albert Einstein, it was a particularly busy year. 

If Team USA, Sally Ride, the Wright Brothers, and Albert Einstein have taught us anything, it’s that many of humanity’s greatest achievements have come from a willingness to challenge the status quo. The USSR was unbeatable. Women can’t be astronauts. Atoms don’t exist. Humans can’t fly. These were all incontrovertible truths…until they weren’t.  

These accomplishments are, of course, impressive, but achieving them is only part of why these people are game-changing historical figures. What sets them apart was their drive to do great things—and, more importantly, their unwavering confidence that they could do what everyone else believed was impossible. And those are the precise qualities we need if we’re going to build a better healthcare system. 

Despite its many shortcomings, the overwhelming consensus is that there is only so much we can do to improve the U.S. healthcare system. That the best way to manage enormous amounts of disconnected healthcare data is via a network of fragmentary and often siloed solutions. That effective collaboration and cooperation between payers and providers is out of the question. That a truly interoperable healthcare system just isn’t in the cards.  

Our Game Changers campaign is a reminder of the incredible strides we can make when we redefine the boundaries of possibility. The U.S. healthcare system can be reshaped for the betterment of all—but first, we have to be willing to challenge our preconceived notions of what is achievable.  

The aspirational spirit that propelled the Wright Brothers, Sally Ride, Einstein, and Team USA to world-changing achievements and discoveries is present in many healthcare professionals today. Just as they believe in themselves, we believe in them: in their desire to build something better, and in their potential to inspire others to work together and build a more equitable, sustainable, and value-driven healthcare model. We know these people will achieve great things, and we are here to provide support and partnership as they work to make their vision a reality. For more information on how the work we do can help your organization lead the way to a better future, connect with us. 


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