Sunday, January 1, 2012

I Interview Myself for 2012

It is not a train wreck or an earthquake but an interview.

American Poet, John Berryman (1914-1972) The Image (1962)

January 1, 2012

Q: Can we talk frankly?

A: There’s no other way we can talk.

Q: What do you think will happen in 2012 in health care?

A: Three things. A Supreme Court decision. A Presidential election. A physician electronic revolution.

Q: I understand the first two, but what about the third?

A: Physicians can’t do much about the Supreme Court or the Election. The Supreme’s decision and the state of the economy will determine the election outcome. The November election will be watershed event for health care and physicians’ future.

The election,by the way, will hinge on two issues: 1) income redistribution vs. economic growth; and 2) government control vs. market freedom and individual liberty.

Q: You evade my question.

A: You nailed me on that one. The world and health care now move on Internet time, and we physicians might as well get used to it and capitalize on it.

Q: How?

A: By recognizing that:

One, young Baby Boomer physicians and those who follow are weaned on HIT, will accept nothing less, and will only join practices that have it.

Two, new electronic record business models will be “free,” will not require on-site installation of EHR systems, and electronic functions will be carried out in “The Cloud” on Internet browsing farms.

Three, payers, both public and private, will reward and pay more for physicians with fully-functioning electronic medical systems, and will subsidize such systems.

Four, so-called mobile “medical apps” will proliferate and make it nearly impossible to practice without a receptive EHR system capable of interfacing with these apps.

Q: Wow! That’s a mouthful, or perhaps I should say a snoutful. Which reminds me: Why do you lead off your blogs with quotes from poets, literary, or historical figures, and why do you sometimes end them with doggerel verse?

A: Because there is rarely anything human that’s new under the sun that hasn’t been said better before. And because you can sometimes say things better and shorter in verse, particularly things you oppose that government tries to impose, than in prose.

Q: There you go again – recklessly, fecklessly, impetuously alliterating. Get back on track. What advice do you have to offer for your fellow physicians for 2012?

A: Innovate. Go for an electronic future. Come up with electronic ideas to electronically engage your patients - through email, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, websites, medapps, electronic monitoring, telecommunications, social networking, even Skype.

Seek venture capital to create your own new physician electronic business model that make things cheaper, better, and more convenient.

Who knows? Maybe your entrepreneurial ideas will free you up to spend more time with patients – addressing their needs and wants in more human terms.

In 2012, Supreme Court decision and elections- are beyond doctors’ control – but electronic communication with patients, is not.

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