MGMA: Extreme Challenges

Rick Johnson, for HealthLeaders News , October 29, 2007

The world is changing--fast--and medical groups will need to adapt, says James Canton, PhD. He kicked off the MGMA's annual conference with a session on healthcare trends called, The Extreme Future. In his introduction, Canton was identified as a "global futurist" and business advisor. And Canton's predictions for the not-too-distant future include a complete change in the way we view healthcare.

Not surprisingly, one of the biggest factors that will lead to change is the baby boom generation. The 78 million boomers in the U.S. are also the biggest pool of wealth in the world. They will demand all industries to alter business practices--but perhaps none as dramatically as healthcare.

As aging consumers, the boomers will chart new territories for disease management. They will expect healthcare providers to cater to their needs in an area of care that has not advanced in recent years, according to Canton.

"Gerantological medicine has not yet advanced," he says. Canton predicts that the practice of assisting boomers with wellness for the aging will emerge. But boomers will not only affect the industry as consumers-perhaps their impact as retiring workers will be even more striking. Over the next two to five years, sustaining the talent pool will be the most critical issue facing executives, notes Canton.

"This will be difficult to manage and outsourcing will increasingly be a requirement," he says. Healthcare leaders across provider types should start their planning today to deal with the knowledge transfer needed to meet growing demand.

A Clean Sweep
Just to follow-up from my last article in this space: I'm as shocked as any Rockies fan that the Red Sox swept the national league champs. My colleague, Elyas Bakhtiari, and I had a very smooth trip to Philadelphia last night. When we landed, Elyas got a text message that the Sox were up one in the third inning. By the fifth inning, we met another HealthLeaders Media colleague, Todd Conly, at a downtown sports pub.

The Red Sox had overwhelming support from the crowd at the bar--most were in town for MGMA. Although they got swept, Colorado kept fighting until the end, pulling within a run of the Sox. But the bottom of the Rockies' order was no match for Red Sox closer, Jonathan Papelbon.

It was a terrific game and a great way to start this trip. Several folks here at the convention noticed Marblehead, MA, on my name tag, and offer their congratulations to my hometown team.

Rick Johnson is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media. He can be reached at

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