Just weeks ago, we brought you an exclusive article on How to Deal with a Liar in your urgent care practice. Now comes a post on the website The Hill that looks at lying on a grander scale: The United States healthcare system, in which lies are often generated and promoted in pursuit of short-term financial gain, according to authors Lawton R. burns and Mark V. Pauly. In their opinion piece, the pair reflect on corporate longing to “say something positive when there is nothing to say,” offering a checklist of the 10 “major forms” of falsehoods, disingenuous platitudes, and exaggerations put forth in healthcare today. A few highlights:
- Top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions. These are often proposed by consultants, or even the CEO or head of Strategic Planning, without input from clinicians or patient-facing staff. They require blind allegiance from personnel who may not sincerely believe in the validity of an initiative (often with good reason).
- Follow the guru. “Top-down solutions are abetted by the presence of a visionary Guru with a mystical revelation about what needs to be done,” write the authors. “Their proposed solutions are followed widely but are difficult to apply in practice.”
- Spreadsheet planning. “There is a common tendency by executives and consultants to express strategic plans in terms of Excel sheets…all replete with many apparently precise numbers, rosy upward-sloping growth projections and forecasted savings into the future. Unfortunately, nearly all forecasts are wrong.”
- Doing what’s fashionable just because it’s fashionable seldom leads to improved results. “Healthcare has suffered from this behavior for decades.”
- “If a new strategy is described in terms of buzzwords, head for the exit,” the pair advises. The problem? Buzzwords often take the place of rational explanation, “a shorthand for concepts that most people do not articulate, let alone understand.” Commonly employed buzz words they cite include synergy, scalable, and paradigm, to name a few.
Generally, their complaints about these ill-conceived practices could be answered with honest communication among the staff of your urgent care center. If you don’t see patients or deal with payers yourself, seek the opinion of the staffers who do before you make sweeping changes that seem like a good idea at the time, but that might not help your operation.