Reducing the total cost of care by reducing the noise

July 9, 2018 / By Brian Mitchell

I was reading an article recently about the luxury of silence and it referenced the word noise as deriving from the Latin word nausea…emanating a sense of discomfort and queasiness. It continued with the correlation that noise exposure is linked to hypertension, higher cholesterol and hearing problems. This made me think…noise relates to nausea and causes health problems in people if not contained/constrained.

Taking the healthcare analogy further, in the U.S. healthcare industry today there is an ever-increasing amount of noise. Physicians and care givers are experiencing more administrative noise from the introduction of new policies and regulations. Healthcare administrators and executives are experiencing more operational noise from the evolution of business models (ACO, Payvider, consolidation). Also, the industry overall is experiencing more noise from the threat of new entrants such as Amazon-Berkshire Hathaway-JP Morgan. 

It stands to reason that if the above constituents are experiencing an increasing volume of noise in their daily work, problems are likely to occur. One likely problem is a continued increase in the total cost of care, or at least a failure to achieve the total cost of care reduction goals that the industry is hoping to realize. A way to buffer or counteract the negative effect of increased noise is to cancel out the noise with no context so that those focused on reducing the total cost of care are receiving relevant and actionable information directly related to this goal.

Brian Mitchell is director of consulting services at 3M Health Information Systems.