Monday, March 21, 2011

Where are we headed?

As Stage 2 of Meaningful Use takes shape, I've been wondering whether the Healthcare IT revolution will indeed achieve its main objective: improving patient care while keeping costs in check. The answer that seems to emerge, based on many conversations and much reading, is "not yet." There's little doubt that the Healthcare IT revolution, driven by Federal funding, is driving IT adoption. What is less clear is whether this is on a trajectory that leads to better patient care and lower costs.

What seems more likely, like we've seen in other technological phase shifts, is that the first revolution will create something of a bubble that will eventually pop. Based on the infrastructure work done during the first bubble, a new revolution will rise and eventually deliver the goods. We saw it with the internet. It happened with ATMs (until ATMs started accepting checks, they didn't have as much of impact on costs). It seems the likely path for Healthcare.

Bubbles aren't inherently bad. They provide an opportunity to break old barriers, develop new innovations, test business models. But bubbles pop and cause a lot of collateral damage along the way.

Agree? Disagree?

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