The Next Generation

It is well accepted that America has had a healthcare crisis for several years that is near the point of failure. The high costs of care are bankrupting individuals and making this benefit unaffordable for businesses to provide.  Despite having the highest cost, our quality is mediocre compared to other developed nations and over 100,000 patients die unnecessarily in our hospitals every year. Information technology is poorly used in a business where timely and accurate information can mean the difference between life and death. Incomplete, missing and inaccurate information drives inefficiencies and medical errors. The lack of information integration and sharing between providers leads to tremendous inefficiencies and fragmentation of care.  Yet, the solutions are within our reach if we have the will and commitment to apply them. It will also require fundamental process redesign and a dramatic cultural shift.  In recent years, catalyzed by changing reimbursement, the Affordable Care Act, maturing and expanding use of technology and market drivers, we are beginning to see the shift from volume- to value-based care.  As part of the value equation, a true focus on quality is taking root.  Technology is becoming more pervasive in healthcare and interoperability is being promoted from several perspectives.  Policy, although still a blunt instrument of change, is beginning to align with important drivers of transformation such as reimbursement mechanisms.  We are beginning to see the features and examples of the next generation of care delivery in the US.  As someone said, “the future is here but it is unevenly distributed.”  As change and innovation spreads and is more evenly distributed we will see transformation of healthcare on a scale that, hopefully, will achieve levels of quality/efficiency that will establish the US as an international leader rather than laggard.  This blog will focus on these issues and track, share and explore the many opportunities we have to transform healthcare through quality, technology, and policy.