Five Ways to Blow Health Reform

While I’m certain this list could be much longer, here are five that immediately come to mind:

1) Throw money at the problem. The current system is designed to absorb money, like a sponge. What’s the impetus to change?

2) Assume that the government alone can fix it. Well, speaking of design, the government is designed to manage the programs already in place. Change occurs only when tweaking the existing structure. It’s like bolting a GPS system to a Model-T.

3) Assume that the private sector alone can fix it. While market forces can be a wonderful thing, spurring innovation and driving quality up through competition, the current system largely forces hospitals and physicians to compete with themselves or with the ever-changing payment and reporting rules. It’s not an environment that encourages change. It is an environment that forces compliance and devalues the art of practicing medicine.

4) Assume that information technology alone will change the system. Information technology is a tool, plain and simple. It is a tool that can help us do complex things in a short amount of time. If we use it to replicate a paper-based system, we will have solved nothing, and will have spent a lot of money to do it. There are some very cool things technology can do, and we have barely begun to see what it can enable.

5) Fail to imagine. We are morally obligated to use our collective intelligence and creativity to create the best healthcare system we can possibly provide for ourselves. If we fail to recognize that healthcare transcends politics, then we have failed to imagine. Good health is the very essence of what it means to be alive. As a society we strive to discover ways to improve our lot, and we all contribute in some way to the cost of providing quality healthcare services. Creating a new healthcare system is hard work; it will cost a lot of money. But we all stand to benefit. These are the important questions to ask: What can we do? How can we do it? Who do we empower to get us there?

-Rod Piechowski

Copyright © 2010, Rod Piechowski, Inc., Consulting

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