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The healthcare industry in America is a test in progress.  Like almost every hospital you visit today, it's coping with a massive construction project.  The stated end-goal of this project is to compel Americans into joining a larger pool of insured customers, which would theoretically drive down coverage costs.  The model for this project, however, is not some simple chart like a Porter value chain.

It's an accountability model, based in very large measure on the flow of information within and between healthcare providing organizations, qualified insurers, and government regulators. 

 

The folks at NASA who made that square carbon monoxide filter fit the round hole of Apollo 13's outer space lifeboat, had a much easier job than the poor fellows tasked with interfacing these three fundamentally incompatible components.

A business conference keynote speaker would advise at least one of these three to radically restructure itself, to undergo a realignment, so that its information needs are in alignment with its service needs.  Not going to happen.  Instead, like the dongles that used to hang from printers in the 1980s that supposedly prevented the pilfering of private files, new methodologies for healthcare information sharing and compliance are being bolted onto existing applications, and not particularly successfully. 

 

Many of the provisions of the new healthcare laws that were supposed to be enacted in 2014, have already been postponed. The reason is because of information itself.  It's hard enough on paper to interface the existing components of the healthcare system, so that they share information accountably.  In practice, it may be impossible.  But someone has tried.

By Scott Fulton, III

March 12, 2017

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