With that in mind, my first few blog posts will go down one of those side roads on a subject that is always top of mind for me – where is the health care industry going in the future? This question was made even more important to me today when Medicare announced a major change in their objectives for health care reimbursement. Specifically, they announced a goal to migrate 90% of hospital reimbursement to value-based arrangements by 2018…only three years from now! In doing this, Medicare has officially pronounced that fee-for-service reimbursement is ending, and they have put a timeline on the demise.
To fully understand the importance of this announcement, and the impact it will have in the future, I think we need first to understand how our industry developed into its current state and the lessons we have learned over those many years.
The first lesson to learn is that the hospital as we think of it today is really only about 100 years old. Prior to 1900 there was really little that we could do in terms of diagnosis and intervention. The development of laboratory tests, x-ray machines, pharmaceuticals, and a whole array of technology over the last century transformed health care into a powerhouse capable of diagnosing and treating a stunning array of illnesses and injuries. Not surprisingly, the fact that the life expectancy of Americans nearly doubled between 1850 and 2000 is usually attributed to these advances in medical technology. However, when one examines the facts, it appears there were even more important developments at play.
More next time…