There is broad consensus that the health care system in the United States is “broken.” Most claim that nothing short of a systemic transformation is needed to meet the challenges created by evolving demographics, the costs of new therapies, and the growing burden of chronic disease.
And it would be difficult to argue with this position. It is apparent that the U.S. system of health care is ineffective for many, and inefficient for all. But to solve so many challenges simultaneously, as a systemic transformation would demand, would muddle the discussion and overload even the most policy-minded among us.
Instead, we believe that many of health care’s challenges have been created through countless unwise investments in infrastructure, myopic decisions about workflow, and the status-quo bias of many well-intentioned committees (not to mention all of those not-so-well-intentioned decisions along the way).
Even worse, these challenges have been compounded by years of failed leadership, bent on avoiding difficult decisions that would have, among other things, driven the adoption of new technologies to improve efficiency and boost clinical effectiveness.
So, while the solution to our problems may be the eventual systemic transformation of U.S. health care, it will certainly begin with incremental changes and targeted fixes to improve clinical workflow, decrease administrative and clinical inefficiency, and enable the delivery of higher quality care to more people. This is no small task – but it is one we believe to be more tenable than turning around such a large ship in rough political and economic seas.
At Next Things First, we will explore aspects of the health care system’s “death by a thousand cuts,” while highlighting the innovators bringing solutions to the market despite the challenges these entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses.
Next Things First is a publication of Faultline Ventures.
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