Year End Pondering

It’s the end of the year – an opportune time to forecast how 2011 will unfold in health care. We are likely to see some surprises, such as the sharply rising importance of primary care physicians.

Here are some predictions about the new year:

More consolidation is on its way in healthcare under Obamacare, which heightens the pressure to improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery. As part of this, more and more healthcare provider groups, even the small ones, will feel compelled to go electronic once and for all.

Valuable new, cost-effective medical tools will begin to become widely embraced. One is telemedicine. Just imagine how much more effective doctors can be if they interact with patients remotely via cameras. The technology exists now, has been successfully used in a number of situations, and it is not expensive.  Soon insurance reimbursement models will permit and remunerate physicians for telemedicine “visits,” and then this will take off.

The use of genetic testing to segment patient populations and better target therapies will be one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare as a new wave of accurate, clinically actionable tests hits the market.

As health reform increasingly kicks in, there will be heightened emphasis on the importance of primary care physicians – a sharp contrast to the elevated importance of specialists for so many years. They will become the linchpins of health care and make more pivotal care decisions as more than 30 million more people enter the healthcare system and require access to them.

Time-saving technologies that lead to measurable better outcomes — such as shorter hospital stays, faster surgeries and fewer complications — will fare well in 2011.

Contrary to the opinion of countless skeptics, new California Governor Jerry Brown will be surprisingly effective and fix many of the state’s woes. Under Brown, taxes will rise and spending will be far more controlled, and much of the crisis will finally be resolved. Why?  Brown has been governor before and knows the ropes. And at the age of 72, he cares primarily about his legacy. What better legacy could he leave then the man who fixed California’s seemingly insurmountable problems?

I gleaned additional insight into Jerry Brown shortly after he was elected mayor of Oakland. He came to a reception hosted by Nat Goldhaber and I to celebrate the IPO of startup Cybergold. Nat is another founder of Claremont Creek Ventures. I brought one of my children, then a baby, and asked Brown to pose with him for a picture. “I don’t do babies,” he responded.  That was telling, and in a very good way. Brown is iron-willed man who does what he wants and what he thinks is best, not what he is told.  He won’t be dissuaded from fixing California.

John Steuart is a Managing Director at Claremont Creek Ventures.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: ,

2 replies »

  1. Over the last week I’ve managed to clock six thousand words on the new novel project. Granted it has all been background material, laying out the characters, fleshing out one thing or another. The main objective, aside from generating word count at 2000 words per session, has been to see if I can write while I have a stream of instrumental music running. The music is designed to drown out the background noise, usually the television set.
    One could be a jerk and demand that the television be shut off but this seems unreasonable to me. It is Trinity’s home as well and she has the right to watch the television if she wants. The music, fortunately, provides a solution to the problem.Fixed Rate Savings Bonds

  2. ” One is telemedicine.”
    State law needs fixed to allow wider adoption. Numerous payors/plans already cover this. Love the concept it just isn’t taking off for some reason. People that use it love it but the pick up is deathly slow. OK doesn’t allow it, some states you can do tele but not video, some states you can do age 8 up or 1 up or any age.
    “The use of genetic testing”
    Could save billions but not till GINA is repealled. Potential liability being anywhere close to this info is far worse then any potential savings for a single plan. We need to clean up HIPAA, COBRA, GINA, CMS Part D etc etc. There are easy ways to accomplish the goals without putting a company out of business for the honest mistake of mailing a notice to an old address.
    “new California Governor Jerry Brown will be surprisingly effective and fix many of the state’s woes.”
    WOW now thats a gutsy call. WHen you say fix do you mean get them through the next four years or really finally once and for all fix? He wont touch pension reform, he might put collapse off four years but he wont do any meaningful reform. I use to live in CA and we were headquartered there, why would any business that had the option stay there if they raises taxes even more? What is the long term exit plan here? If I was still in CA and overlooking the poor labor market, terrible regualtion, 725 new laws today, and congestion if you raise my taxes today its not a 5, 10, or 20 year temp increase to solve a problem, it would be the first increase of many more to come that will last far longer then I do. When it is so easy to visit why stay there and run your business?