The Future of Health Care: COVID’s Impact and the Change That Comes with It

09/10/21

For most of 2020, COVID-19 disrupted and significantly altered the infrastructure of the world’s industries, including health care delivery and services. But at what level can we expect health care to return to pre-pandemic levels? What are the long-term effects of the pandemic even as the virus generally abates while the new delta variant threatens? And what other drivers will factor into change? Here are several important trends along with what to expect.

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Health Care as an Uncommon Good

09/07/21

American medicine is facing an identity crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic brought renewed attention to socioeconomic health disparities and turned up the heat on the question of whether health care is a right or a privilege. The financial strain on hospitals resulting from the temporary postponement of scheduled surgeries exposed a vulnerability caused by an inherently flawed payment system.

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Spinning Wheels, Flashing Lights and Health Care Pricing

08/03/21

Health care pricing—in particular, the variability in what different payers pay providers for the same services—can seem to take on elements of classic TV game shows as the amount the provider gets paid has less to do with the cost of care and is more dependent on who pays the bill. The subsidization of government payments by private-sector insurers is well documented. What is less widely known is the difference in provider payments between services covered by health insurers and those paid for by a segment of the industry known as property and casualty insurers. While not accounting for a large portion of overall health care spending, the variation in prices paid by different classes of insurers underscores the irrationality of the patchwork quilt that is our national financing system.

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EHRs, Air Traffic Control and Unmet Expectations

06/22/21

Imagine you’re on a commercial jet headed from Beijing to Paris and you’re descending over the Netherlands through heavy cloud cover with limited visibility. Your pilot contacts air traffic control in Amsterdam for instructions, speaking Mandarin Chinese. After a momentary pause a voice responds, speaking Dutch. Unknown to you, another plane, 55 minutes after taking off from Charles De Gaulle airport, is climbing over Belgium headed in your direction. Its pilot contacts air traffic control in Brussels, speaking Danish. The response crackles back over the radio in French. Meanwhile, the blips on the respective radar screens keep getting closer together.

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Medicine, Mortgages and the Middle Class

05/18/21

In his latest blog posting entitled “Medicine, Mortgages and the Middle Class”, Vizient Research Institute executive director Tom Robertson takes a new look at an old economic concept that will change the way we think about health care spending. 

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CMS Updates its Star Ratings: A Simpler Methodological Approach Provides Clarity Needed to Drive Change

04/29/21

Whether you are a hospital administrator, a physician, a nurse, or other member of your hospital’s family, you know well the true north of our daily purpose is to provide quality health care to patients. And the compass that helps us navigate that course is data. So where do hospitals and consumers go to get this data? One source is the Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings. Here are several important changes from yesterday’s CMS update to its Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings as well what additional changes are still needed.

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Driver’s Ed and Molecular Biology

04/27/21

In his latest blog posting entitled Driver’s Ed and Molecular Biology, Vizient Research Institute executive director Tom Robertson reflects on a sense of gratitude and optimism over receiving the COVID vaccine.

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Seeing Sideways While Moving Forward

03/23/21

It’s natural to focus on the horizon as clinical volumes return to something approaching normal. Read why we need to keep our eyes moving to find those patients who should be returning but aren’t...not only including—but especially—when they can’t afford to. 

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Health Care Over the Rainbow

02/23/21

"The global pandemic of 2020 figuratively swept through the health care landscape like a Kansas cyclone...in what felt like an instant, everything was up in the air.” In his latest blog posting entitled Health Care Over the Rainbow, Vizient Research Institute Executive Director Tom Robertson draws an interesting parallel between our craving for normalcy and Dorothy’s quest to return from Oz.

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Defying Gravity: What if Not Everything Returns to Normal?

01/26/21

In his latest blog post entitled “Defying Gravity: What if Not Everything Returns to Normal?”, Vizient Research Institute Executive Director Tom Robertson provides a glimpse into the Institute’s most recent economic study. Launched at the outset of the global pandemic, the study explores the possibility of a number of changes that may occur, some short-term, others longitudinal, some reflecting supply and demand forces, others contemplating the potential for far-reaching systemic changes. The essay as well as the study findings emphasize the idea of defying gravity, of not allowing everything to come to rest just as they were before the pandemic. Both pose a different question than the one expressed in their titles…rather than asking what if not everything returns to normal, the more thought-provoking question is what if not everything should?

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