As the debates continue, the courts rule, and the American people become more educated on the true impact of “healthcare reform,” the question that begs for an answer is, “What, exactly, IS healthcare reform?” Read any article, tune into any top news organization, and listen to one of the political pundits or news anchors, but your view will change as soon as you hear another source. Even the politicians responsible for the legislation are confused!
The American people are speaking out like never before in gatherings and town hall meetings across the United States about healthcare reform’s cost impact on our system, especially in such a down economy. The reactions have been astonishing; but even more astonishing has been the opposite views from both sides of the issue with opposing explanations on whether traditional town hall meetings really represent the true feelings and will of the American people. New political explanations and themes are beginning to emerge. Instead of healthcare reform we now have “insurance reform.” The debate seems to be around identifying the bad guy. Is it insurance organizations, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, or government? Where is the “Bogey Man” in this?
Most of us in the healthcare technology market space agree that all this debate and posturing has caused a delay in the commitments to move healthcare industry technology forward. It has been a lean year for major providers of healthcare solutions and services to implement anything because healthcare provider organizations are confused over government mandates, stimulus and what that entails. It’s apparent, however, that whichever direction the debate moves, whatever is or is not deployed for healthcare reform, the resulting environment will require innovative technology solutions that can support access to the critical information necessary to comply to market demand and government mandates. It’s time to act on compliance demands rather than gamble that they will be moved out or go away. It’s time to plan for the next generation of services that will help healthcare organizations do more for less, rather than adding to already strained information technology budgets.
It’s not yet clear which organizations will step up to the plate and define the healthcare model for the future and the technologies that will drive that model. But what is abundantly clear is that next generation IT applied to mHealth, medical device integration, telehealth, and data center transitions will support and drive innovation that will support quality of care and wellness programs and make these affordable for consumers.
As we strive to understand what healthcare reform is, we cannot lose sight of the fact that healthcare is a costly issue, and we must make it affordable for all without consuming our national economy.