Friday, March 1, 2013

Health Care Reform Is Not Health Care Innovation
We need to learn to ask of  any government policy or measure:  Does it further society’s ability to innovate? Does it promote social and economic flexibility? Or does it impede and penalize innovation and entrepreneurship?
Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005), Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 1985
Every reform, however necessary, will, by weak minds be carried to excess, that itself will need reforming.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Biographia Literaria (1817)
In my last blog post,  I put forth a proposal  that I interview health care  leaders on the subject of innovation.    What are your thoughts on innovation?  What makes you  or your organization innovative and successful?  What is the proper  place for innovation and reform?   What are the differences between innovation and reform?  When did one interfere with the other?
Here are a few of my thoughts.
·         Health reform, i.e. Obamacare, is not innovation.  In many respects,  government regulations, rules,  mandates, and penalties that  interfere with innovation.   Obamacare’s $400 billion tax burden is a general example.  The 2.3% tax on the profits of the medical device industry is a specific example.

·         Innovation in the private sector is what drives the American economy. To quote Peter Drucker again, “So far, the entrepreneurial economy is purely an American phenomenon.”   It does not exist in Europe,  where vast  social welfare programs interfere with innovation and retard economic development.

·         Many of the health law’s so-called “innovations” -  accountable care organizations,   bundled bills,  pay-for-performance,   pay based on data-based outcomes,  health exchanges,  and its various mandates – are not innovations but bureaucratic retardants – that suck money and flexibility out of the private sector.

·         Most of the truly big  innovations in society – the Internet, GPS, iPhones, social  media,  Skype,  fracking technologies – rise out of the private sector, in spite of,  government.  The same is true in health care. Examples are telemedicine, virtual visits, surgical robots,  cardiac defibrillators , predictive modeling,  data mining,  implanted medical monitoring devices,  concierge practices.

·         Most truly innovative ideas  emerge from the “bottom-up,” from entrepreneurs and innovators,  who imagine, sense, and develop what consumers need before consumers are even aware of their needs.  Apple computers and IPhones are good examples.  Similarly mobile and remote devices will transform medicine
If you are a successful innovator with an idea for which you want wider exposure,   I invite you to call or contact me at 1-860-395-1501,  or  I will interview you for my Medinnovation blog, which can then  serve as vehicle for transporting your message to the world at large. 

Tweet:    Health reform is not synonymous with innovation.  It may interfere with it.  Yet innovation may help save the U.S. health system.


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