Mix the insights of a policy wonk and the accent of Sean Connery, and you have Ian Morrison, PhD, one of the keynote speakers at SHM’s annual meeting this spring.
A native of Scotland, Dr. Morrison is a well-known author, consultant, and futurist who often lectures on where healthcare is headed in this country. Appropriately, his address is titled, “The Future of the Healthcare Marketplace: Playing the New Game.”
A second-time annual meeting speaker, who last addressed HM attendees in 2008, Dr. Morrison is a founding partner in Strategic Health Perspectives (SHP), a forecasting service for the healthcare industry that includes joint venture partners Harris Interactive and the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Health Policy and Management. Dr. Morrison is also president emeritus of the Institute for the Future (IFTF).
Dr. Morrison spoke at length with The Hospitalist about his speech next month in Las Vegas.
Question: What do you want a room full of hospitalists to know about what they should be doing?
Answer: What I’ve been urging groups to think about is to take the longer view. I think we all get caught up in the disaster of the moment, and it’s amplified by the ideological divide over healthcare and the politicization and partisanship over it. But I think what we’ve got to do is think about the one-, three-, and five-year time horizon, about the pace of change and what we’re trying to do here. Don’t conflate the future into a blur of simultaneous change. Some of these things are going to take time.
Q: How do you rise above that fray that is “the blur of simultaneous events?”
A: If you take the longer view, there are some things that are happening, no matter what, that will not be undone by even the politics of Washington, D.C. That is the massive consolidation in the delivery system—the fact that doctors are increasingly employed by hospital systems in the main. Now, this has always been true of hospitalists, but it’s increasingly true of cardiologists and everybody else. And those trends I don’t think are going to abate. The other “megatrend” that I think is over a longer time horizon is the increasing focus on reimbursement reform to reward quality and value, particularly on a population health basis. That, I think, has so much momentum that it’s unlikely to be undone. I urge people to think about the Wright Brothers as a metaphor, rather than the Indianapolis 500; let’s just get this sucker off the ground before we declare that flying is a bad idea.
Q: How do you tailor that message to hospitalists?
A: In this new environment, hospitalists are seen as one of the specialties that have got it, in terms of patient safety, quality, and care coordination. In my rattling around the country, I see hospitalists playing a pretty critical role in things like care transitions and readmission redesign. They are trying to limit readmissions to hospitals where there are certainly financial incentives, and increasing senior management’s attention on that question. So I think hospitalists are in the center of all of those kinds of discussions, at the ground level.
“In this new environment, hospitalists are seen as one of the specialties that have got it, in terms of patient safety, quality, and care coordination. In my rattling around the country, I see hospitalists playing a pretty critical role in things like care transitions and readmission redesign. ”
Q: Being at the eye of a storm isn’t always the best place to be. How do hospitalists navigate this landscape, both to address patient care challenges and to deal with the shift that’s going to take place over the next five to 10 years, regardless of how fumbled anything is politically?