I want to take a moment to make sure we are all on the same page here with the business of health care reform. This is inanely simple. When it comes to health care, keep doing things the same way. It’s a proven business model. Here are a few specific pointers.1) Don’t Involve ConsumersThis is really critical. Do *not* ask consumers what they want. Whatever you do, don’t ask consumers to define “meaningful use.” These kinds of rhetorical debates are best left to academics and bureaucrats inside the beltway. Every time a consumer mentions anything resembling meaningful use or a “personal” health record, change the subject immediately.2) Act Like Privacy Issues are InsurmountableThe possibilities here are endless. The more you can distract consumers with potential privacy issues, the less they will pay attention to the ways in which they would benefit from having true ownership of their health care data.
3) Don’t Learn from Other IndustriesDon’t bother reading that book by Clay Christenson. He has spent a decade studying the inefficiencies of the health care system. Inefficient by whose standards? Let the academics put their two cents in when it comes to meaningful use, but don’t listen to any of that Harvard B-school innovation nonsense.4) Act Like Open Source Doesn’t ExistFortunately, most people have long forgotten that once upon a time, software was free and/or inexpensive. They continue to blindly support proprietary software, even during a prolonged recession. They even purchase new computers to run this bulky, expensive software!This ties into the next point. 5) Think Short TermThe time to think through any major conceptual problems is not now. Come up with brilliant, yet strangely expensive health care solutions (remember, they must be proprietary). Don’t worry about long term sustainability or stupid things like sharing your source code. Having proprietary solutions is exactly the leverage you need to maintain your involvement in perpetuating, I mean solving, the problem. This is advice you can (both literally and figuratively) take to the bank.Oh, yeah, speaking of the bank, by the time tax payers realize what you’ve done, you will have already deposited your bonus check and had a fabulous spa treatment.
Cindy Throop is a University of Michigan-trained social science researcher specializing in social policy and evaluation. She is one of the few social workers who can program in SAS, SPSS, SQL, VBA, and Perl. She provides research, data, and project management expertise to projects on various topics, including social welfare, education, and health. www.cindythroop.com