The Buzz About Healthcare Reform

Now the hard work begins, with healthcare reform sitting at or near the top of the heap.

We have a new President. I know it’s hokey, but I got misty watching the inauguration… I grew up in Alabama during the 1960’s when kids were getting bused across various school districts, and I saw and heard what I thought at that point was the worst of humanity. I never dreamed I’d be lucky enough to see an African American become President of the United States.

So now the hard work begins, with healthcare reform sitting at or near the top of the heap.

In last week’s issue of the NEJM, Victor Fuchs, PhD, of Stanford University attacks the upstream battle of reform by pointing out impediments to change. The essay is available online without subscription. With all of the goodwill generated through this election in the general public for Obama, I’ll be interested to see what kind of political opposition he runs into.

Microsoft’s Peter Neupert wrote a thoughtful blog entry last week regarding the role of IT in healthcare reform, and what the real goal is — achieving meaningful outcomes. The focus, he argues, should not be on technology, and this is a point that we should keep in mind as we go forward.

Scientific American brings up a 2003 study that also suggests we should be too quick to jump onto the technology wagon if we intend to control costs.

Reform is also the word of the day at the FDA. In case you haven’t read, the agency has been under suspicion for some time regarding its relationship with industry. Now, nine FDA scientists have stepped forward with allegations that management has either ignored or attempted to suppress safety issues, particularly in the medical device division.

And speaking of the FDA, will the peanut butter debacle ever end? The recall is now apparently hitting Fido’s snacks. You might as well just paste the link to the recall list on your waiting room wall.

We’ve got lots to chew on in the healthcare industry, with a lot more to come. If you run across an interesting point of view on reform, please send me the link. I’d like to read it.

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