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ENTERING A BRAVE NEW WORLD IN HEALTHCARE, WHY IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SORT OF NERVOUS

2013-02-09T00:00:00Z ENTERING A BRAVE NEW WORLD IN HEALTHCARE, WHY IT MAKES SENSE TO BE SORT OF NERVOUS nwitimes.com
February 09, 2013 12:00 am

Looking back over the last two years, running a healthcare business has been a significantly challenging experience. Though there have been many opportunities for growth through acquisition, market position, special areas of expertise, location, under served constituents, demand for digital services by customers, legal requirements and demographic population factors at both ends of the typical life span, the risks of potential damage are not miniscule and miscalculation can be lethal.

Many providers in our thriving Northwest Indiana market have spent years paying attention to details on quality care, building reputations as smart innovators with unparalleled insight and knowledge about behaviors in targeted populations within the regional footprint. Every decision is strategic and must hit that sweet spot where competition and collaboration overlap without canceling one another. Though government sponsored healthcare has been a well-established player in the industry along with health insurance, the dynamics and balance on the three sides have already been shifting and churning. The situation is unpredictable at best.

Pressure in the healthcare industry never lets up. Information overload for patients is greater than ever and the stakes can't get much higher. Recently, I heard a doctor say that we have made so much progress in the treatment of heart disease that increased life spans open up a platform for other debilitating illnesses to flourish. Those extra years granted by a strong and healthy heart may be lost to dementia.

The potential for navigation frustration grows along with the second most important aspect of healthcare changes: Who will pay for this? Iindividual states are now working out their game plan with the directives and rules that formulate the Affordable Care Act. Northwest Indiana—along with Indianapolis—is home to concentrated communities of workers and a thriving employment sector of healthcare jobs. But how and to whom healthcare is delivered this year, five years from now and ten years after that, is a big question that is perplexing to everyone in the system including the end user (and taxpayer).

New categories and certifications for professionals seem to spring up every few months. Technology is fluid and even the most experienced economic and legal procnasticators cannot say how the new law will play out. Nothing this sweeping has ever been tried before.

But that is what has made America great in the past: A solution that anticipates what's best is impossible and fraught with guesstimates, risks and the possibility of a path that might not lead to where we think we want to go. But there is still a chance we could end up in a better place.

Pat Colander

Associate Publisher and Editor

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