Remember the famous statement by an advertising executive who said he knew half of his advertising was wasted, but he didn’t know which half?
That seems to be the state of healthcare in the
Actually, that’s my assessment. The people in healthcare think they know what to do. But they just don’t get it.
I come to that conclusion after reading a recent article in The
The article also says they agree about the solution.
Yet among physicians, insurers, academics and corporate executives from across the ideological spectrum, there is remarkably broad consensus on what ought to be done.
A high-performance 21st-century health system, they say, must revolve around the central goal of paying for results. That will entail managing chronic illnesses better, adopting electronic medical records, coordinating care, researching what treatments work best, realigning financial incentives to reward success, encouraging prevention strategies and, most daunting but perhaps most important, saying no to expensive, unproven therapies.
Those are not bad ideas, but they really don’t get to the nitty gritty of solving the problem. For example, I agree with the idea of realigning financial incentives to reward success. But once a hospital sees that eliminating waste is in its financial best interest, then what? How does it eliminate the waste?
What is missing from the list in the article is a focus on process improvement – aka lean. Healthcare leaders need to understand how to identify waste, how to eliminate it and how to measure improvement.
To be fair, one of the people quoted in the article is Gary Kaplan, chairman of
But there are far too few institutions making these kinds of efforts. Here’s hoping that changes in the future.