Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Unified Theory of Home-Based Care

You may not know this, but I am fascinated by quantum physics.  No, I don’t actually understand it, nor can I do the math involved, but I am like a curious two year-old when it comes to the idea that the laws governing small particles and large planets are actually the same.  It turns out that the visuals our science teachers taught us about electrons orbiting nuclei were not exactly right from a scientific perspective but a really helpful way to think about this.

So, as usual, what does any of this have to do with hospice or home-based care in general?  Well, we are consumed these days by large celestial bodies that are going to reshape health care.  Walmart, Amazon, Google, are all vying for a piece of the health care pie.  This is both tantalizing and a little scary.  But what if the laws that apply to these large bodies are the same as the laws that apply on the ground? Think about it. While Amazon completely disrupted the business model of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, it created huge opportunity for smaller, nimbler organizations like delivery services and the specialty realtors who contract with Amazon for those more niche products. A similar evolution in health care could actually play to hospices’ strengths.

I think that when all of the hoopla dies down, and we deal with reality, we will see that this is exactly right.  You see, no matter how much buying or technology power an entity has, people still covet and receive health care (if done right) in a personal, local and convenient manner.  While we can bring the efficiencies and technology of large bodies to health care, and we should, we will not replace that crucial fact.  Even in the Jetsons, neither Rosie the Robot, nor the food eracacycle, delivered health care.

A unified theory of home-based care, just like a unified theory of physics, has been elusive.  Over the coming months, you’ll hear much more about my theory.  For today, suffice it to say that it will be person-centered, interdisciplinary, and will leverage the best of our past with the scale, technology and efficiency of the future.  We’ll be less chopped up by geography or tax status, or even Medicare benefit category.  A unified theory demands that we focus on the one core truth that helps inform all we do.  That part is easy.  It’s about people. No matter the scale, people need care from other people. 

By Edo Banach, JD
President and CEO

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