Monday, March 11, 2013

Health Care Innovation Forum:  Innovations That Create More Time for Patients
Effective people know that time is the limiting factor. The output limits of any process are set by the scarcest resource. In the process we call ‘accomplishment,’ that resource is time.”

“Time is also a unique resource. One cannot rent, hire, buy, or otherwise obtain more time.”

“The supply of time is totally inelastic. No matter how high the demand, the supply will not increase. There is no price for it and no utility curve for it. Moreover, time is totally perishable and cannot be stored. Yesterday’s time is gone forever and will never come back. Time is, therefore, always in exceeding short supply.”
Peter Drucker (1909-2004)

What’s wrong with health reform law?  This.   Its provisions rob practitioners of time to spend with patients.   Instead it burdens them with rules, regulations and mandates to meet compliance standards, to enter data for their EHRs,   to organize new organizations,  to wait on telephone hold with third parties, to manage  what is essentially a small business without violating fderal rules.
Time is the problem.   Doctors no longer have time to spend with patients.  This is especially true with women physicians, who have more family obligations than  their male counterparts.  A current artlce in the WSJ, “The Real Women’s Issue: Time” hits the nail on the head.  
Lack of time is the main physician issue too. It is the main cause of physician burnout.   It’s the main issue of physician dissatisfaction. It’s the main reason physicians abandon independent practice to become hospital employees.  It’s a search for more time- to spend with patients,  marriage partners, and their own sanity.  It is seeking more “quality time.”
Whether an innovation creates more time is also the main reason an innovation succeeds or fails.  If it complicates rather than simplifies a doctor time by consuming more time to maser, it will fail.. If it is too difficult to understand in this fast-paced world of the social media,  it will fail.  If it takes more of the physicians’ and patients’ time, it will fail.
On the other hand,  if it frees up time for the doctor,  it stands a good chance of succeeding.  If it effectively delegates tasks to staff, to patients,  or to other caregivers., it is probably a winner.  If it cuts through  bureaucratic requirements while meeting government or other third party standards, it  is marketable.  If it speeds an effective response to  health emergencies – a heart attack,  a stroke, a life threatening infection or injury, it will work.   If it cuts waiting times for patients,  go for it.
Tweet: Innovations that  save   time for doctors  to spend more time with patients have a good  chance for succeeding in the marketplace.

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