Apr 5 2012
By Lisa Kersey
For years, healthcare in America has operated as a loose collective of independent businesses. All had some level of dependency on the others in the industry, but each functioned based on its own business model, regulations, standards and revenue. There was little incentive to work collaboratively, so each operated as a silo, adding to rising costs, fragmentation of care, duplication of services and some of the worst health indicators ever. That much is crystal clear.
But the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has swept the industry like allergy season. There’s pollen everywhere, and it is disruptive to all aspects of the industry. In order to reduce costs and put ‘health’ back into the industry, conventional lines are blurring and the market is being reshaped.
Here are the seven signs that PPACA is in the air:
1. Every time you sneeze, there’s another merger or acquisition in the healthcare industry. (Latest article from Debbie)
2. In less time than it takes the cherry blossoms to bloom, the Supreme Court listened to three days of arguments to provide the information needed to deliver the first landmark decision of this century.
3. Hospitals, physicians and insurers who used to be allergic to each other are finding ways to collaborate. It may be self-serving at this point, but no matter, if it improves the quality of patient care and decreases costs!
4. Wellness is sprouting up in unexpected places, from providers to insurers to family doctors. Health insurers seek to position themselves as patient and employer advocates. Hospitals shift from the sickness to the wellness business. Physicians finally get paid to coordinate care to prevent illness and promote health.
5. Like bees pollinating flowers, the federal government continues to stimulate the adoption of health technology to enhance care coordination, improve safety and reduce duplication of services. EMR and HIE join our vocabulary, and we need to interpret the impact of this technology for patients.
6. Hospitals are growing insurance companies, and insurance companies are growing health systems.
7. No level of antihistamine will stop the flow of social media in healthcare. It’s not just a wave of new communication tools. It’s a call to transparency that changes how we will behave and communicate, whether or not certain elements of the legislation ever go into effect.
While change can be good, it can also stir up some of these “allergic reactions.” What does this mean for us, as healthcare marketers? Keep up with merger and acquisition communications, since you may soon be part of one. Pay attention to how organizations communicate collaborative efforts. Like allergy season, PPACA creates a chain reaction. How you embrace and respond to these industry shifts through communications and marketing impacts your healthcare organization’s strategy and reputation.