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Transforming Healthcare

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I read an article on The Healthcare Blog over the weekend called “HillaryCare 2.0- “Back to the Future” by Jim Purcell. Not only insightful and filled with links to other proof sources, I found it interesting how similar conceptually both HillaryCare and ObamaCare are to one another. Both seek transformation of our industry but do so in such a way as to coerce and force on us drastic prescriptions for controlling the conduct of the states, employers, anyone providing good and services, doctors, hospitals and you and I. Of course it failed in 1993 only to have it shoved down our throats in 2010. Then as now, most of our politicians either have short memories or still do not realize that when it comes to healthcare we are all very passionate. What we want are choices and transparency not some cookbook approach to something as personal as our healthcare.

The article goes on to say what we must do to reform healthcare. First, you cannot reform healthcare without reforming how it’s delivered. You can’t reform how it’s delivered until you reform how it’s paid for. You can’t reform how it’s paid for until we agree on a universally governing set off standards for quality of care and outcomes by which every single practitioner and organization will be measured and publically scored. And we cannot measure quality of care and outcomes without interoperable electronic medical records that are core to the delivery of care. Of course all of this is influenced by how we, the public, accept our part of the responsibility of staying healthy and using the system appropriately. And while I agree in principle, setting standards is somewhat problematic. In a market that is functioning correctly it’s normally the highest quality for the lowest price. Whether I choose the lowest price is dependent on how I feel about how the particular service or product fits into my circumstances and who is performing that service. Can I afford it? Do I believe in the company or person providing the service? Do I have enough information to make an informed decision? Who are the competitors and what are customers saying about them? Do I know anyone who has used either the service or product?

Let me suggest that while all the aforementioned steps to reform are important, the transparency dilemma is what will disrupt our industry. Electronic medical record data is of great importance only if it allows me to participate in my care and own the data. I understand how it helps care delivery but if we’re to transform the industry the consumer/patient must play an active role. Ignoring the patient/consumer is how we got here to begin with. So we have both a data issue and a confidence issue that we, the people, are capable enough to handle our healthcare decisions. And while the is a percentage of the populace that are in need of help, can we at least build a system that works for the 80% that can and will make those decisions and a safety net for those that cannot. I wonder what that system might look like???