Health care providers try to connect with patients 

Uncertainty is bad for business, and Obamacare has apparently increased – not decreased – uncertainty in the health care industry. But there may be a silver lining for patients.

“Rather than end the debate on how to reform the health care system, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act seems to have intensified it, and in the process, spawned new uncertainties for existing players in the health care industry,” writes Andrew Croshaw, managing director of Leavitt Partners, a medical consulting firm founded by former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt

“Many of these players are nervous and seem to be concluding that it’s not worth waiting around for leaders and would-be leaders to settle on the best mechanisms to bring down the cost of health care in this country.  These organizations are doing what any self-respecting node in the health care distribution chain would do amidst all this uncertainty – seeking relationships with patients and disintermediating one another.”

Industry reaction to government-induced uncertainty is producing what Croshaw believes may be “the beginnings of a potential re-ordering of the healthcare distribution chain. …It is not likely that costs can be dramatically reduced without some culling of the healthcare distribution chain.“

Even hospitals and physicians, who would seem to be insulated from culling, may not be, he warns. Attempts to reduce costs by such innovations such as employer-provided on-site clinics and nurse practitioners that are steadily encroaching on their turf.

“One node in the chain we all know must survive is the end consumer, and there seems to be a pervasive eagerness to establish direct relationships with patients by stakeholders across the industry,” he added.  Which may be an unexpected bonus for patients who often feel ignored.

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