To see the future of healthcare, take a look through a crystal ball. Or maybe a telescope.
Daniel Bourque, senior vice president for corporate and public affairs at VHA, an Irving, Texas-based hospital alliance, and Merlin Olson, a partner in the New York office of Deloitte & Touche Consulting Group, will be your guides during the ACHE session "Preparing for the Millennium" at 4 p.m Tuesday, March 9, and at 10: 30 a.m. Wednesday, March 10.
They will present the significant findings of Deloitte & Touche's 14th annual environmental assessment of the healthcare landscape. This marks the fifth year VHA has been a contributing partner.
"People in the field tell us this is a very valuable resource, and they use it to fine-tune their strategies," Olson says.
A dozen analysts spend nearly 10 months a year preparing the horizon-to-horizon look at healthcare. This session is a preview of a book that will be available in March. About one-third of the data comes from Deloitte & Touche clients, one-third from VHA members, and the remaining third from secondary sources such as HCFA, Olson says.
This year, the assessment takes a close look at several subjects of rising concern for healthcare providers.
Consumers think they're kings, and that means consumerism is no passing fad. Providers that want to stick around should pay attention to what healthcare consumers have on their minds, or else, Olson says.
Bourque says he and Olson will examine "the ever-present and growing impact of the consumer." Two topics to be covered are the public's attitude toward providers and insurers and the effect of direct marketing of pharmaceuticals.
Technology continues to transform the management and delivery of healthcare. Olson and Bourque will examine current and future trends in information technology. But this year they will broaden their review to include a more detailed look at where investments are being made and the effect of the millennium bug on healthcare providers.
For the first time, the healthcare technology overview will devote equal time to the explosion in medical innovation. The quickening pace of advancement in drugs, devices and medical procedures is transforming healthcare faster than ever. Olson and Bourque will examine important developments, such as gene therapy and its implications for providers.
The presenters also will describe the healthcare industry's response to the tumultuous interaction of providers, payers, physicians and patients. Trends in disease and case management and system integration will be discussed.
Bourque and Olson will close with a summary of the top healthcare trends and their implications for healthcare executives, as well as suggestions on how managers should respond.