First Day of Summer Blog: Another Pleasant Valley Sunday in HealthcareLand

I love to write these blogs. I love to write and I love what I do.

“What is it that you do?” people ask. Um, well, I am interested in how healthcare gets paid. It has to do with an interest in economics, you know, the dismal science.

Oh, but never mind all that. Today is the first day of summer and it is gorgeous. Blue sky, wispy clouds, low humidity and warm temps. These are the kinds of days made for anything but work, and it is Saturday.  But I was out there mowing the lawn, putting up the umbrella on the sundeck and pouring a glass of iced tea when I realized I haven’t blogged in a few weeks. It’s time.

Since it is gorgeous, and the weekend, before we dig into the dismal science, please cut and paste this link into your browser. Let’s have a little fun even though Mike Nesmith looks like he’d rather be anywhere but here in this video:

Well, now that we got that out of the way…

Figuring It All Out

I’ve been blogging on the healthcare system for five years; it is fun because I am opinionated. For this reason, the blogs tend to fall into four distinct categories:

1. Cheerleading – something is done well and it is worth promoting

2. Prescriptive – something seems wrong and there is room for ideas to make it better

3. Scorning – something is done poorly and it is worth pointing out

4. Analytical – something needs to be figured out

A lot of definitive work is being done by the government, in academia, in provider organizations, in think tanks and within supplier organizations to improve the healthcare system that we use. Up until recently, a lot of ideas were floated but the path was unclear. That is changing as people are starting to figure it all out.

The Affordable Care Act, no matter where you stand on it, has goosed along a lot of changes that have been in various stages of development for decades. In addition, bundled payments, population health, patient-centered medical homes, patient satisfaction, diagnostic technology and wearable technology, just to name a few, are redefining what we think of as the healthcare system.

So, while I could be cheerleading, I’m still not sure all of it is going to be worth promoting. I could be prescriptive, but I’m not so sure I have any ideas that aren’t already underway. I could take this opportunity to scorn the changes, but until we see how some of the changes are implemented, it isn’t clear that anything is really worthy of scorn.

Taking the Analytical Route

We are on the cusp of a new world in healthcare. Technological advances and new payment systems will drive the way the healthcare system of the future is put together, play roles in who it serves well,  and determine who may be left wanting.

A lot of people are working hard to move the system to a place where it serves as many patients as possible, as well as possible, for the least possible cost. That’s because this is a time of possibility.

And for the first day of summer, it is a good time to allow these things to just settle into our minds and practice a little watchful, hopeful waiting, which is sometimes the best course of action for a patient whose outcome is uncertain.


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