It's a matter of definition.
Healthcare providers, always ready to adopt an acronym or buzzword or two, are confounding consumers with a dizzying array of new terms. Integrated delivery systems, provider service networks, HEDIS (the Health Plan Employer Data and Information Set), and the NCQA (the National Committee for Quality Assurance) are a few of the lightning rods that energize providers but leave patients pondering.
In fact, about the only thing the public knows is that price and cost containment are at the root of healthcare reform. But it appears that managed-care executives are waking up to the notion that the industry's fixation on cost will produce a public backlash, according to a recent survey by Witt/Kieffer, Ford, Hadelman & Lloyd, an executive search firm.
In addition, CareData Reports says customer service, not hospital quality, is becoming a critical factor in consumers' satisfaction with their managed-care plans. Interaction with representatives of the plan and providers, it seems, is every bit as important as the hospital's clinical reputation.
That's something healthcare managers shouldn't forget as they forge ahead with the razzmatazz restructuring of their organizations. Patients realize rapid change is occurring, but they're not sure how and why. Frankly, they don't give a damn. What they do care about is consistent, timely service from caring, competent professionals. That will never change.