When the government web site for enrolling in “Obama care” crashed and failed to handle the traffic, the president called in the top IT experts who had experience in dealing with problems of this magnitude and the results were a fixed web site. How did they do it? The google engineers who worked on the problems had these rules posted outside the meeting room:
Successful healthcare practices (whether standalone or clinics) share three characteristics that are true not only in healthcare but also any business or industry. For years, the belief that healthcare was somehow different than most businesses kept the industry from making the same kinds of advancements and strides with technology that all companies now embrace. While most of healthcare is still looking at the future of IT in their practices, other businesses realize the future is no longer an accurate word. Technology is driving businesses. All businesses including healthcare, but I digress.
Europeans and Canadians have been medical tourists for years, and it’s finally catching on here as a way large corporations can save dollars on high cost surgeries and procedures. In Europe and Canada, it is used to gain access to good healthcare much quicker than they can at home. Here it is being used to contract large facilities who perform certain complex surgeries and procedures well and will perform them for a flat rate.
In a recent survey by the AMGA (American Medical Group Association) over half of those (those being comprised primarily of multi-specialty medical groups) surveyed said they were actively planning on an ACO business venture of some kind. And half of them said they were down the road of creating/participating in a health plan. The other half was actively engaged with primary care practices to expand the role of primary care to include home care and after discharge care. 31% said they were seeking to engage other multi-specialty groups or practices in partnership. 36% said they were partnering with hospitals in some capacity; most frequently as an employed provider of hospital.
Just read a pretty interesting article about patient vs. customer as the language being used in healthcare but not in any other industry. The point was made that the word “patient” is now an antiquated term for healthcare consumer and in very real ways, patients are now customers shopping for care. The origin of the word patient from the Latin means” one who suffers”….or more literally, “I am suffering”.
An email from a vendor came the other day saying that their tools were designed to make conversion to ICD 10 easier. So my interest peaked until the reality sunk in that it was really just a sales ploy.
When AOL President and CEO Tim Armstrong told a town hall meeting that a couple of AOL’ers had spent $1 million each for distressed babies the social media and AOL staff went off the charts. And while calling out the 2 AOL employees publically should not have been aired; what’s lost is that Tim Armstrong was simply explaining the reasons why changes in 401k needed to be made. It’s the very same reason that insurers will have difficulty with the ACA. It’s group insurance 101. The whole group contributes to the various products whether they themselves utilize these products or not. The reason is simple, to spread the cost. What AOL realized is that 2 babies needed specialized care in an in-patient ICU setting which cost the plan millions. The issue has nothing to do with the value of those lives. Can you put a dollar value on any human life? Human life is priceless. The insurance to pay for the care and technology needed to sustain those lives is costly.
The Affordable Care Act now requires that preventive care visits and preventive services, including lab work, be provided without any deductible payment. While it may appear to be a great idea for wellness centered care, it presents patients (particularly those with high-deductible plans) and clinicians with a dilemma as to where the lines of preventive and problem-focused care begin and end.
Value is a word that gets bantered about on a regular basis. Generally value can be defined as “importance, worth, or usefulness of something.” In healthcare, it is defined by a number of different markers. For patients, the value of healthcare may mean wellness. For Providers value may mean how useful and important the EHR has become to their practices. For consultants, value means what they bring to practices that translate to lowered cost and improved efficiency.
“Chief Strategy Officer”, an interesting title. And in these unsure times, may be just what healthcare practices need. Everyone is under the pressure of what will happen next. How do we capitalize our strengths, minimize our weaknesses, deal with the healthcare exchanges, satisfy patients, make more money for providers, and convert to ICD 10; all while increasing our dependence on technology? Expensive technology.
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