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Article Date: 6/1/2014

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Making Healthcare Work for You

Relax (if you can), take a deep breath, and pay attention to the conversation.

from the editorial director
Jim Thomas

Imagine after a tough week at work, you begin to daydream during a conversation at a party. When you return to a fully conscious state, the talk has turned to health care: Your neighbor complains about the exorbitant cost of surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). You are about to comment, and then you realize you have no idea if your neighbor is talking about her son… or her labrador retriever. You’d have a much clearer idea of whose ACL it was if she would only mention heartworm.

The big picture

In this issue of Optometric Management, our discussion of healthcare reform centers around six initiatives: HIPAA, PQRS, e-Rx, EHR and meaningful use, ICD-10 and the ACA. (See page 26.) We hope to bring a sense of clarity to these issues that, just like the ACL example, are part of the changing healthcare landscape in the United States.

The patient perspective

Patients surveying this new landscape will require clarity as well. They will need answers to such questions as, “What is a patient portal, and why do I need one?” Even those patients who are computer literate may question: When will my provider answer a question I ask through the portal? Will it be possible for all my providers to put all my patient information in a single portal? Is this like switching from Netflix to Netflix.com?

The nation faces further health-related regulation from other entities, including employers and insurers, who seek to improve health and cut costs.

Recently, a Pennsylvania hospital joined a growing number of employers who announced they would no longer hire job applicants who smoke. Can hospital diet/cafeteria reform be far behind? Get the soft serve ice cream while you can.

On everyone’s mind

Everyone seems to have their own ideas for healthcare reform, from thoughtful commentary to the guy who lobbies for surgery to be performed in luxury hotels (“No one likes being in the hospital, but we all like upscale hotels, and get this: a hotel stay is cheaper than a hospital visit. We all win, right?”).

Regardless of the merits of the ideas, healthcare reform will most likely result in a more educated patient sitting in your exam chair. From the perspective of the optometrist who commits to providing the highest level of patient care, can that be a bad thing? OM



Optometric Management, Volume: 49 , Issue: June 2014, page(s): 4

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