What’s Your Endgame? The Future of Healthcare

Residency

Several years ago, physician graduate medical education, also known as residency, went through a revolutionary change and restrictions were placed on the number of work hours residents could work in a week. In a profession traditionally programmed to work in excess of 110-130 hours per week to gain the exposure necessary to adequately practice medicine, capping hours at 80 hours per week was a controversial change, and brought into question the validity of shortened education. While the verdict is still out regarding the current generation of residency graduates – related to knowledge base, work ethic, professional expectations, and patient relevance – there is no change in sight for resident work hours.

The Current State of Healthcare

Enter the Affordable Care Act, fluctuating insurance coverage, increasing baby boomer illnesses, and rising physician burnout, what will your role become in healthcare?  Have you considered what your endgame will be as an advanced practice provider? While there is little similarity between the educational philosophies and material taught between physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners, the common thread is patient care. Patient care is also a definition in flux with all of the changes in healthcare. Value-Based Purchasing and quality metrics are becoming the new definition of “Patient Care” and the reasoning behind their value is cost-efficiency-resource based and not care-based as some are led to believe. Think about your job, your patient encounters, and your patient experiences, and consider who is deciding if the care you are giving is good or bad care.

With Healthcare approaching one third of our nation’s GDP, the cost implications of a broken system are staggering, and cost-containment will be the focus of tracking your performance. With every mouse click into your EMR, and the countless hours you are spending documenting your daily encounters long after the work day has ended, ask yourself if the burden of charting, coding, billing, and making sure you didn’t prescribe a patient the evil curse of augmentin for a three day old sinus infection is making you a better provider. Ask if it is making your patient care better, and if your intellectual stimulation is being met. In short, ask yourself if you are happy.

The Healthcare Revolution

We are in the midst of a tremendous revolution in the American healthcare system. Non Clinicians and bureaucrats have been handed the authority to redefine the medical management that their budgets say is best based on cost, and the pesky (and expensive) physicians who try to tell them otherwise are being ignored in droves in favor of replacing them with providers who are focused on buzzwords such as “patient satisfaction,” “the patient experience,” and “quality.”  

Do the math- fewer physicians, more sick elderly retirees, inflated costs from all aspects of healthcare, and a population of patients used to choosing star ratings like choosing a restaurant online. Where exactly is healthcare headed?  How do you know you are prepared and giving good care?

The Future of Healthcare

While there is no replacement for evidence-based practice, compassion, and human interaction, today’s world makes it very difficult to trust the sources of the evidence your practice is based upon- especially when government metrics unrelated to consistent practice have become pervasive in defining you as a provider.  In a few years, you will have your own individual star rating, and the public will view you based on how many stars are next to your name on a website run by the people who will pay their medical bills. How you earn those stars may be vastly different and diametrically opposed to the education you received and the medicine you were taught to give.  

You are going to be defined by cost – not by skill, or life saving, or whatever other reason you went into patient care for. Each star you earn will be based on how well you adhere to government metrics designed to reduce the cost of a overburdened healthcare delivery system.  We can help you navigate these choppy waters and provide you with a focus to deliver care that you know is right, and feel empowered to continue to give consistently thorough care without fear of government oversight. In short, we at Provider Practice Essentials can make you a stronger provider and help you decide what YOUR end game will be – not the game based on the stars you collect!

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