I’m writing this on a Saturday, a couple of days before publication. I’m about to head off to meet with a futurist to brainstorm some ideas.
Speaking of the future, lots of people are talking about driverless cars.
Suppose those people who want to sell us driverless cars, or to force us into driverless cars, are right and that we’ll all be driving in them. What’s the impact on healthcare? What’s the impact on your practice?
Assuming, and yes, it is a very big assumption, that driverless (that is, people programmed) cars might actually be safer than people driven cars, will there be fewer accidents? According to Centers for Disease Control data, in 2006, 3.2 million people received non-fatal injuries from auto accidents. And, according to a 2013 report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, auto accidents resulted in approximately 2.8 million emergency department visits in 2010, which was around 15% of total emergency department visits for injury that year.
What happens if that business (no, I’m not coldhearted, but I’m writing this for healthcare providers) goes away? What’s the impact on the number of emergency department physicians needed? What’s the impact on the amount of nurses needed? What’s the impact on the number of hospital beds needed? What’s the impact on the number of specialist consults and surgeries and physical therapy and on and on? What’s the loss to the bottom line?
Yes, I’m warming up for the discussion with the futurist. This part of the warm up fits well with my own “futuristic” work, my book, The Impending Death of Hospitals.
But this self-driving car trend and many others and the way they intersect help lubricate the mind and lubricate the discussions among medical group and other healthcare leaders in exploring alternative futures, futures into which you must project your practice or business. That is, unless you want a driverless car to drive you to the poorhouse.
What are you doing to envision your future?
Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.
Mark F. Weiss