Hospitalists Central To U.S. Health System Transformation


LAS VEGAS—Hospitalists are poised to be industry leaders and change agents as the rigmarole of healthcare reform shakes out over the next few years, a keynote speaker told a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday at HM14.

Ian Morrison, PhD, a founding partner of Strategic Health Perspectives, a forecasting service for the health-care industry that includes joint-venture partners Harris Interactive and the Harvard School of Public Health’s department of health policy and management, says that while the Affordable Care Act struggled with the rollout of its health exchanges, the broader movement from fee-for-service payment structures to population-based has "turned the corner…and we ain’t going back."

"You, as a society, you, as a group, need to take the long view," Dr. Morrison told 3,500 hospitalists at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. "You are going to be central to this transformation."

Morrison, a native of Scotland whose delivery is half stand-up comic, half policy wonk, says hospitalists will be on the front lines as health care shifts from local health systems to just 100 to 200 regional or super-regional systems.

And while politicians and pundits dicker over how a generational shift in policies will be implemented, hospitalists will be the ones balancing that change with patients' needs.

"This is the work of the future," Morrison says. "And it is not policy wonk work; it is clinical work. It is about the transformation of the delivery system. That is the central challenge of the future. We've got to integrate across the continuum of care, using all the innovation that both public and private sectors can deliver.

"This is not going to be determined by CMS, in my view, but by the kind of innovation that America is always good at."

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