No one who reads this blog needs to be reminded that the healthcare business cries out for innovation. Hopefully the chaotic and strident forces pulling at the industry now will — in the magic Adam Smithian manner — somehow produce net positive forward change. But not all the change is technological.
I recently went through elective surgery and was blown away by the — I can’t think of any other word for it — Medieval-ness — of the billing process. I got one bill from the hospital for essentially my stay, one bill for each department in the hospital that had done a procedure, one bill from each of the professionals (above a certain level) who had done the procedures. Each bill came with no indication that it was a part of the one procedure, the one hospitalization. They came at different times. And they dribbled in over the course of maybe 12 weeks (unless there are some I haven’t seen yet; of course there’s no “summary” or notion of an overall master account).
What other industry on Earth works this way? Try to imagine buying a car like this: you get an invoice from the assembly plant, but a different one from the paint department. The shift supervisor sends you a bill for his or her services. And, just when you think you understand what the car cost, you get a bill from the battery and tire suppliers.
Have a great holiday weekend everyone.