Change is unsettling for anyone, but when it comes to health care, we all feel uncertainty about the changes we keep hearing about. If no one knows exactly what tomorrow will bring, it seems like one thing that everyone is certain about is that big changes are happening in our health care system, and fast.
I feel fortunate to be able to play a small role in helping to explain some of these changes to those of us who have a specific interest in how society supports people with vulnerabilities. It is so important for us all to be informed, and I hope this blog is one more way Access can help as we engage together in helping to shape a system that works to offer better support at a more affordable cost.
One of the real bright spots of the National Council of Behavioral Health conference was the presentation by Dr Ezekiel Emanuel, an influential thinker who has literally written the book on where the entire health care system is headed.
In the book Dr. Emanuel breaks out the separate emerging trends. He starts with the insurance companies, which are already making changes in the way they work. He is not trying to make guesses about the future as much as identify the likely directions things will move in. Business-as-usual is not one of them.
One possibility is that insurance companies will become specialists in guiding the health care systems that deliver care to us. The idea that healthcare will be provided and paid for through delivery systems which unite health plans and providers will likely create solutions to ensure that it is value that we get for the dollars spent on care.
Improving the experience and health of people should be our goal and health systems are developing the metrics to demonstrate effective care. This, like the other trends I’ll share in the next post, is not something Dr. Emanuel believes is a bad thing at all. After all, as a doctor and professor and participant in shaping policy he knows better than most that the system we have is simply not sustainable.
Having insurance companies and provider systems use data and align in achieving better health outcomes can result in changes that are positive for people including those with complex health needs.