Review Of 2011 Predictions In The World Of Health Care

How Did My 2011 Predictions Turn Out?

Pretty well, actually.

As predicted last December, there was no big change to health care reform, doctors still didn’t have enough time with their patients, Microsoft (disclosure: Microsoft is a Best Doctors client) made moves to create a “Windows” for electronic health records, and “ACO” became the hot buzzword in health care.  Some state governments started major redesigns of their benefits programs, saving money in the same ways private sector employers do.  Meanwhile, more than ever, private sector employers are penalizing employees who don’t take care of themselves.

Misdiagnosis finally started to be recognized as a public health problem.  At Best Doctors we got a great deal of press coverage in 2011 on this (for a few examples, go here, here, here, here and here).  I will sneak in a 2012 prediction and tell you that you will hear a lot more about this this year, and not just from us.

What did I get wrong?

Well, I said no major employer would drop their health benefits – and none did, so I didn’t really get this wrong.  But I was surprised to hear some very major employers quietly talking about their plans for dropping coverage in 2014.  It’s a bad idea – and I would have thought its badness would have been enough to keep it off the table.  For some employers, apparently not.

I also can’t point you to signs that the health insurance system is starting to take on the bad aspects of the workers compensation system.  Instead, many of the Fortune 100 employers we work with are trying to make their benefits plans simpler and easier to use.  I’m glad to be wrong about that so far.

Here are the two biggest misses.

First, I predicted a doctor would get sued for offering medical advice to a patient on line.  It didn’t happen in 2011.  Interestingly, there was (finally) a lawsuit claiming gag orders on posting reviews of medical providers on-line were unenforceable, something I thought would have happened a long time ago.

Second, I thought that health care reform would be more popular at the end of 2011 than it was at the beginning.  According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll for December 2011, in January, 41% of Americans had a “favorable” opinion of health care reform.  In December?  Forty-one percent.  A better prediction would have been that no one’s minds would be changed….

For my 11 predictions for 2011, I got 8 right.  Not bad, but I have to do better in 2012.

So, for 2012, I will make only one prediction – the world won’t end on December 21, 2012.

I feel good about this one- I’m wrong, no one will be here to see.