Healthcare Reform an Insider's Game Now

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , February 1, 2012

Here's a sampling of innovation initiatives it's promoting: the Innovation Advisors Program, the Multi-payer Advanced Primary Care Practice Demonstration, State Demonstrations to Integrate Care for Medicare-Medicaid Enrollees, and the Financial Alignment Model Demonstrations.

Talk about sausage making! Eventually some of these projects may produce results that help achieve the triple aim, but it's not likely that the average healthcare consumer will ever connect the dots between any of them and the care received in a doctor's office or at a hospital.

Atul Gawande, the Boston surgeon and author, probably captured the state of things best in his keynote speech at the summit. "We have been engaged in this battle over whether the problem is bureaucracy and government; whether the problem is business and insurance hassles. I can tell you as a physician that all of these things make it harder day-to-day to get the job done."

"But, they are only symptoms of the deeper, more vexing problems you really think about day-to-day as you are seeing patients, and that is the complexity of what it is to actually deliver good care. The innovations we're thinking about are really most deeply rooted in understanding how we handle the complexity."

Politicians may rail against healthcare reform, or opt to soft-pedal the issue, but it doesn't really matter to industry insiders. They work with ideas, not sound bites.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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