I’ll be the first to tell you that there are a lot of changes happening in healthcare. At MGMA, the President said that Healthcare isn’t changing, Healthcare has changed. I agree wholeheartedly that Healthcare has changed, but I’d argue that healthcare is still changing even more. I don’t see a stabilization of things coming in the forseeable future.
What’s ironic is that while so many of the regulations and reimbursement structures are changing in healthcare, so many other parts of healthcare are resistant and even fearful of change. However, that provides what I call the healthcare change conundrum:
Healthcare is afraid to change and cause damage. What many don't realize is doing nothing can cause even more damage. #mgma15
— EMR, EHR and HIT (@ehrandhit) October 11, 2015
There’s definitely a culture of fear when it comes to changing anything that we do in healthcare. In many ways it’s a very appropriate fear and that fear has served us well. The fear can drive us to inspect the drugs and treatments properly before using them and causing more damage than good. We have good reason to be cautious in healthcare.
While caution can be valuable, that caution often paralyzes us from doing anything. As I say in the tweet above, doing nothing has its own consequences. We often don’t think about it that way, but it’s absolutely the case.
My favorite example of the problem of doing nothing is that it prevents you from even thinking 5-10 steps down the road of what will be possible. Many of the population health initiatives and value based care programs would not even be possible to consider in a paper world. How do you run a report of at risk patients in the paper world? You don’t. You couldn’t even think about the idea. Now it’s a simple query to your EHR.
We have to be leery that we’re not causing more harm than good as we change things in healthcare (As I’ve discussed multiple times.). However, we shouldn’t be so paralyzed that we’re not willing to change anything. Doing nothing has its own risk and could stop us from discovering a multitude of future benefits that we couldn’t ever dream possible.