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Top 12 Healthcare Buzzwords for 2012

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 3, 2012

3. Change fatigue. People get tired mainly when routines stay the same, day in and day out, right? Not necessarily. We've been hearing healthcare providers talk about a new kind of fatigue, one brought on by too much change too fast.

Now, many commercial health plan and federal healthcare programs are encouraging innovation, requiring that hospitals, clinics, and physician practices test new ways of doing old procedures. There's change in leadership, areas of responsibility, accelerated workload and expectations, and requirements for new skills and training in people who may not be prepared for it or want it.

Some providers have expressed frustration with this "new flavor of the month" attitude. Now managers are trying to find productive ways to make these transitions, so there is enough stability and constancy mixed in to prevent change fatigue.

4. Accountable care skimping. In the Medicare Shared Saving Program's final rule released in October, the word "skimp" comes up four times.

Officials for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services used the word to address a concern that when physicians in accountable care organizations are paid to avoid unnecessary expenses, they may—unconsciously or not—avoid necessary expenses for their patients. Heaven forbid, they may "skimp on care."

Here are a few quotes from the rule:

"Comment: Several commenters expressed concern about unintended
negative consequences related to the quality measures and patients' role in
improving quality of care outcomes. A number of commenters were concerned that ACOs might skimp or delay in providing specialty care, particularly high cost services or those not available within the ACO."

And, "Other commenters expressed concern that specialty care and care for those with disabilities might be negatively affected by the lack of specialty measures or incentives to skimp on necessary care."

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