Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Care Must React to 'Revolutionary Changes' This Decade/warns Goldsmith

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Health Care Must React to 'Revolutionary Changes' This Decade/warns Goldsmith

Article excerpt

Hospital managers aren't alone in facing a brave new world filled with economic uncertainties. Physicians and other health care providers are likely to find themselves afloat and paddling hard in the same hostile seas.

Futurist Jeff Goldsmith, a senior consultant for health care strategic planning at Ernst & Whinney, warns administrators and doctors alike to prepare for "revolutionary changes" and more sophisticated patterns of care in the marketplace of the next decade.

Moreover, he insists, "they had better have that capacity in hand by the end of the decade." Implicit in his comments is a view that those who fail to adapt will fall by the wayside.

Goldsmith, who also is president of Health Futures Inc., led a seminar at Baptist Medical Center a short time ago, analyzing trends in health care management for an audience of administrators and other health care executives.

In private comments later, he said that one of the severest tests ahead of the managers is anticipating how the needs of patients will change.

Hospitals and physicians both have been listening to the patient, because it's clear that they now care more about the patient - and his attitudes about receiving care - than they did 10 years ago, he said.

But the needs will change, he predicts, and the "price of not listening to the consumer today, and not anticipating, will have devastating effects."

Goldsmith adds:

"Corporate managers have an equal responsibility; that's what good marketing is all about."

Through government involvement as well as actions taken by influential private sector participants - insurers and big corporate purchasers of health care - an iron grip once held by providers has been ebbing. Physicians and hospital administrators both sense that they no longer exercise the same degree of control over the system. And that may add to mounting tensions. …

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