Editor's Note: This article is part of our Future of Business Technology series which focuses on what is happening to business today as a result of technology, and in turn, what's happening to the economy, the job market and IT careers.
The healthcare industry in America is a test in progress. Like almost every hospital you visit today, it's coping with a massive construction project. The stated end-goal of this project is to compel Americans into joining a larger pool of insured customers, which would theoretically drive down coverage costs. The model for this project, however, is not some simple chart like a Porter value chain.
It's an accountability model, based in very large measure on the flow of information within and between healthcare providing organizations, qualified insurers, and government regulators. The folks at NASA who made that square carbon monoxide filter fit the round hole of Apollo 13's outer space lifeboat, had a much easier job than the poor fellows tasked with interfacing these three fundamentally incompatible components.
A business conference keynote speaker would advise at least one of these three to radically restructure itself, to undergo a realignment, so that its information needs are in alignment with its service needs. Not going to happen. Instead, like the dongles that used to hang from printers in the 1980s that supposedly prevented the pilfering of private files, new methodologies for healthcare information sharing and compliance are being bolted onto existing applications, and not particularly successfully. Many of the provisions of the new healthcare laws that were supposed to be enacted in 2014, have already been postponed.
The reason is because of information itself. It's hard enough on paper to interface the existing components of the healthcare system, so that they share information accountably. In practice, it may be impossible. But someone has tried.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scott M. Fulton, III has chronicled the history of computing as it happened, from the unveiling of the Apple III to the undoing of MS-DOS to the rise of the cloud. Scott was one of the original online managers of the Delphi network (you remember modems, don’t you?), part of the original editorial team of Computer Shopper (you remember paper, don’t you?), the Senior News Editor at Tom’s Hardware and the original TG Daily (you remember... never mind), and for four years served as managing editor of Betanews. He’s the author of 17 books and over 5,000 articles printed worldwide in multiple languages. Scott also appears as contributing technology analyst on NTN24’s Ciencia, Salud y Tecnología. So basically, he has at least one finger in just about every medium, in hopes that maybe one of them will take root and bear fruit. You never know, something could happen. His fingers are crossed. (Which could explain the typing problems.) While he’s waiting, Scott and his wife Jennifer, herself a best-selling author (where do you think he gets it?), run Ingenus, LLC, an editorial services provider for technology and higher education publishers. Right now, their daughter is probably on Tumblr telling her friends how Dad keeps finding something new to go wrong with his VCR. You can follow Scott on Twitter at @SMFulton3.
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