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Should Healthcare be more like the Airline Industry?

CowboyRobot (671517) writes | about a year ago

Businesses 1

CowboyRobot writes "This week, New Orleans is hosting HIMSS 13, the big healthcare IT conference. One of the ideas being discussed is whether healthcare can take cues from a financially-strapped industry that people love to hate. "It's the fact that U.S. commercial airlines carried 52% more people in 2010 than they did in 1995, and yet they employed 2% fewer people. It's that airlines did away with unprofitable luxuries such as meals in coach and filled excess flight capacity. It's that airlines shed lots of jobs at front counters and reservation call centers and replaced them with kiosks and online bookings." Given the aging population and rising medical costs, the healthcare needs to find a way to do more with less."
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1 comment

Good lord, NO! (1)

kiick (102190) | about a year ago | (#43084451)

I understand the purpose of the question: how to cut costs and still provide services. But there are so many things wrong with the airlines that emulating them, even a little, can only lead to Bad Things.

- prices are seemingly arbitrary, change without notice and nobody feels like they got a good deal.
- they have an adversarial relationship with their (unionized) employees.
- they not only cut unnecessary "luxuries" (food), but started charging extra fees for necessities (luggage).
- dealing with them is usually an exercise in frustration, especially when things go wrong.
- the experience of using their services is usually uncomfortable at best.
- customers are treated like cattle, herded from here to there, penned up in holding areas and lines, and sometimes stored on planes that are not moving.
- customers are at the mercy of uncontrolled factors such as weather, maintenance schedules, work shifts, traffic and the occasional security "emergency".

The two unavoidable facts about airlines are that nobody but the rich enjoys airline travel any more, and that until they figure out just what it costs to get a person from point A to point B, they are not going to be sound financially. We do not want our healthcare to be like this. Pick a different industry to emulate. ANY thing else.

Now, if you want ways to do more healthcare with less cost, that's a different question entirely.

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