The Only Constant is Change

Thoughts from ATA Edge 2017

An abbreviated list of thoughts from attending the American Telemedicine Association Edge 2017 conference. In no particular order:

  • Wow, there are very few doctors here.
  • The players in the chaos of American healthcare seem to be, in rough order of agency: Payers (insurance), Health administration (people who created and reinforce HIPAA), Policy makers, Medical conglomerates, Private companies with monopoly, Private companies without monopoly, Technology creators, Providers, Patients.
  • The above order needs to be changed. Even better, reversed.
  • As the only resident here, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much my ideas already contribute to the discussion and how much value a clinical perspective brings.
  • I like this SWOT analysis thing.
  • I think the future of medicine will replace the current dichotomy of inpatient vs. outpatient medicine with a framework of in-person vs. virtual medicine. 
  • That elder gentleman who stood up near the end of the meeting and dressed down the entire conference for losing “the patient” in 2 days of talking about the business of healthcare…he gets it.

Apparently we are about 25 years into a 40-year process of transformation. The climatic tipping point is approaching. I enjoyed seeing the enthusiasm and dedication of this group. Changing legislation, abundant funding, technology, open-minded patients and providers, a crumpling status quo – all the elements are here. It’s our job to harness these million loose threads and apply intention to them. Technology is only better when it brings us closer to the human connection, and that’s what healthcare desperately needs right now on multiple levels.

Are you going to pretend the Tsunami isn’t coming because the water is still receding, or will you grab your surfboard?