As I write this, there have been no hurricanes in the Atlantic this season. I must say, I am very grateful. I grew up in Groton and while hurricanes occasionally threatened the area, none did serious damage and I don’t recall getting any days off from school for hurricanes while growing up; blizzards maybe, but not hurricanes. My oldest son has missed a week of school because of hurricanes twice! Hard to believe that could happen even once in Connecticut, which highlights how the world is always changing and events that seem extremely unlikely at one point in time may be quite likely later.
Health care is becoming even more uncertain than the weather. Resident education continues to be revamped, the role of Advanced Practice Providers is being redefined, the Baby Boomer Generation is hitting 65, government regulation continues to increase, public scrutiny of outcomes is becoming more intense, accountable care may become the new norm, or not, and we all expect to be paid less. Taken together, these changes promise to be the most significant to medical practice since the creation of Medicare, maybe since the early 1900s.
It is too early to forecast how health care will be delivered 10 years from now, but it is not too early to prepare for the coming storm. The hospital has a few general strategies that I think are useful. First, thinking ahead and changing behavior in response to anticipated challenges is the most important strategy, followed closely by being flexible in response to the, hopefully few, unanticipated challenges. Another key strategy is teaming up with others. I expect that we will all be partnering with others in ways that seemed very unlikely a few years ago.
I want to take a moment to thank Dr. Charles Watson for his many years of service to Bridgeport Hospital. He took charge of a department badly in need of good leadership and led it with great success. We, and our patients, have all benefited from his efforts to ensure our patients received outstanding anesthesia care.
Charlie is known nationally for his expertise with malignant hyperthermia and managing difficult airways. Several of my patients directly benefitted from his skillful airway management. During my years as the vice president for Quality and Risk, Charlie was a critical ally in improving care. We are fortunate he will continue to provide clinical care. If you see him, please join me in thanking him.
Michael Ivy, MD
Chief Medical Officer