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Steve Jobs should reform healthcare

Editor’s note: This article was written by guest blogger Anthony Cirillo, FACHE, ABC, a healthcare marketing and experience management expert and elder advocate. For more information about the author, please see our About page.

Accountable care organizations (ACO) and medical homes are terms being thrown around in healthcare reform debates. An ACO would consist of a group of healthcare entities that share responsibility for the quality and cost of care to a defined population. ACOs would receive financial rewards for meeting standards based on quality of care and efficiency in spending. People I have talked to say that if you really look at ACOs in terms of the continuum of care, then home health, hospice, adult day care, nursing homes, and assisted living, among others, could be included in these groups.

So this got me thinking. How in the world do you ever bring such disparate organizations together against a backdrop that includes lack of communication among physicians, nurse-to-nurse hostility, and overall distrust of the system?

I had an “a-ha” moment after reading a recent New York Times article about Apple CEO Steve Jobs: He should lead healthcare reform!

According to the article, Jobs doesn’t design products based on committees or market research data, but through a heavy reliance on “tenacity, patience, belief and instinct.” Jobs creates “edited products that cut through complexity, by consciously leaving things out.” Who better to simplify resident and family experiences? Instead of an ACO, Jobs would create “Your Accountable Care Organization,” with just what you need when you need it.

Healthcare gets so log-jammed pouring over metrics that there truly is paralysis by analysis. Jobs steps away and puts himself in the user’s (read resident’s) head. He reaches for what people only dream about or have not even considered dreaming about. Who thought you could put all that music on that little thing? Who thought I could go to my doctor’s office and the next specialist I need to see is in the next room?

If you think I’m short on details, you’re right. But perhaps we need leaders who have a right to be somewhat dictatorial because their vision is so strong as to not be denied. That might actually move healthcare organizations forward faster.

And all of us need to realize that accountability starts with each and every one of us taking control of our health so we don’t need the system at all!