Over the past several years, Harvard Business School prof Michael Porter, probably the leading thinker in the area of business strategy and competitveness, has been working in the area of healthcare. Last year, he and his colleague Elizabeth Olmsted Teisberg of the University of Virginia published “Redefining Health Care”. (We will be reviewing this book shortly). A video of a presentation that Porter made to the Health Information Technology Symposium is available at no charge. It’s one hour in length, but well woth the time.
In viewing the video and reading the book, I found it comforting that some of the ideas and observations that I’ve been making, whether here or in other forums, are also made by Porter. First, the issue is value, and there is no reward to providers or patients for creating value. People are hassled about using services that have high value in producing better health, such as prescription drug costs and rehab services. He also has an interesting take on the current “quality” push. He suggests that it measures process rather than results. As he points out – and physician have been saying – all patients are not the same, so the same processes cannot be applied to all patients. I, as well as others, would argue that this is true, but there are too many bad processes being carried out in the name of individualized clinical care.
We are moving, ever so slowly, to a better health care system that will provide better care, better results for patients, and at lower cost. Financing will be taken out of the picture, but either voluntarily or by regulation, results will improve. It will be a wrenching change, but it’s coming, and soon.
I urge you to watch the video and focus on the themes that Porter presents.