Many Moving Parts…

December 22, 2016 at 10:08 am | Posted in Awards and Recognition, Professional Development | Leave a comment

Our last NAHSL 2016 meeting blog post is by Nathan Norris, Senior Information Specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  Nathan is another winner of NAHSL Professional Development award.  Thank you, Nathan and congratulations on winning the PDC award!


I want to thank the NAHSL Professional Development Award Committee for the award to attend the NAHSL annual meeting in New Haven, CT!

It enabled me to participate in the poster session and enjoy excellent speakers, not to mention spending time with the fine company to be found among our membership!  Also, many thanks belong to our CPC, as the circus-themed program and entertainment were just great!

I enjoyed all 3 of our keynote speakers!:

William Powers – Having listened to his talk and spoken to others NAHSL members, I will read his book!  In general, I am a firm believer that we are well-served by spending significant, scheduled “unplugged” time from the Internet and what can be the “Siren Song” of social media.

Susan Keane Baker – I not only enjoyed her talk, but thought having a copy of her book is a really nice gesture! It is chock full of great, practical tips to promote kindness – This is something that is so important in our hurried world today, and Susan reminds us that it can be done in minimal time!  After listening to Susan’s points about making a difference, I know that I am lucky to be working with colleagues who already practice what she is preaching (As for myself, I will strive to do better….New Years’ Resolution perhaps?!)

Jack HughesWhile Professor Hughes’ topic was a bit drier than the other two speakers, it is likely to be the most salient over the next few years – at least to all of us working in healthcare. I would like to spend a little bit of time discussing this! hughes

It is likely that the Accountable Care Act (ACA) will be “under the microscope” soon with our next administration.  Professor Hughes did an excellent job of outlining the current healthcare climate driving high costs and mediocre results (comparatively speaking) in the United States.  From Professor Hughes’ presentation, here is a quick synopsis. Our Healthcare environment is characterized by:

  • More intensive treatment near death
  • Fear of malpractice
  • Administrative complexity
  • Higher income for health professionals
  • High prices

Underlying causes include:

  • Lack of concentrated purchasing power, price controls, volume controls, technology availability and control over hospital budgets – Many of these are exercised by other countries.
  • Overutilization
  • Waste, duplication and fraud
  • Costs associated with technology, treatment and drugs
  • High Expectations / Attitudes surrounding perceived “need”
  • Overall Economics – insurance/ tax exemptions for healthcare / traditional fee for service environment

The discussion we need to have centers around the cost savings not yet realized through the ACA to date.  It won’t be easy, but it will be fascinating. There are many moving parts  – due to social and demographic factors, insurance company participation, pharmaceutical costs, the roles of Medicare & Medicaid, and of course – politics!

Stay tuned for further discussion! – Maybe we can reconvene and see how we have done over the past year at NAHSL 2017?!

I hope for everyone to have a happy & healthy holiday season and beyond!

Many thanks,

Nathan Norris, Senior Information Specialist

IS / Knowledge Services, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center



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