‘The In-Between State of Mind’ versus Taking Action

US Healthcare continues to be in flux as political parties battle back and forth.  The only certainty is that more change is coming.  The repercussions of these changes are as complex as the politics that led us to this point.   One emerging danger in the current situation is the wait and see attitude.  Many providers are living in ‘the in-between state of mind’, and they are falling behind as a result.

As we are seeing, there is no fast and comprehensive reboot of US health law.  Healthcare laws such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA/ObamaCare), Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the 21st Century Cures Act remain in effect.  While there will likely be changes to some of these over time, there are still important requirements that need to be met that will have significant impact on provider reimbursement and emerging care models.  Transitioning to appropriate IT infrastructure and solutions is essential to reduce costs, achieve quality reporting requirements, understand utilization patterns, support population health management, and improve clinical capabilities.

We are witnessing the intended design of our messy political system.  Checks and balances are in place to ensure that comprehensive and well thought-out policies are the basis for new laws.  The best healthcare policies will be the result of negotiation and compromise.  This is a time for getting involved and taking action.  As a country, we must all take care to focus on the real challenges of creating a sustainable healthcare system for our old age, our children and our grandchildren.

For me, taking action includes helping hospitals and healthcare organizations understand the changes and ramp up their technology and analytics capabilities in anticipation of challenging times ahead.  Next generation data center technologies have rapidly evolved to provide a path from inefficient legacy silo’s to software defined pools of stable server, storage, network and multi-clouds that are far superior for management, power, provisioning, flexibility, and scalability.  There are new methods to consume and pay for IT. Analytics and data reporting are essential in monitoring key quality indicators, managing high-risk patients and utilization of resources.  While we don’t know the details, we know for sure that the future of IT is cost-reduced, secure and efficient.  There is too much to do currently to wait for clarity – which is likely to remain elusive.

A focus on the true issues of healthcare will be more productive than a focus on healthcare politics.  As I tell my undergraduate students, who are preparing for careers in healthcare administration, don’t believe everything you hear.  Do your homework and understand the issues. Understand the legislation, the process and the facts – what is written, not what is discussed.  We need to be educated and informed about healthcare policy, financing and overall reform.  We need to weigh in in our own way, to participate in making healthcare better for our clinicians, communities and individual patients.

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