I am also seeing great strides being made on the more prosaic, but important, business processing side of healthcare. Patient data input, something that used to be a laborious and disjointed task, is becoming considerably more streamlined. Merely getting a bill out to the right person at the right time used to be a major challenge for many facilities (and still is for some). But processing improvements are being made and the administrative costs of medicine will subsequently go down.
Health reform is going to accelerate these efficiencies through its various advisory boards, readmission reductions programs and related cost containment and quality improvement prods. Of course, for an administrator worried about evolving payment systems, or for a physician with a line of patients out the door, or for a managed care executive fretting over new insurance regulations, the day-to-day challenges can obscure the big picture.
But forget the trees for a minute. Look at the forest. It's becoming a more manageable, habitable place, and in the future it will be better still.
William "Kip" Schumacher is board certified in emergency medicine and is chief executive officer of Schumacher Group, one of the largest emergency medicine management companies in the United States.