Forces reshaping US health care could mean opportunities for O&P

LAS VEGAS — Major forces that are reshaping health care and how it is paid for represent equally major challenges for those who work in the medical profession. However, according to Michael L. Lovdal, PhD, adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and emeritus partner at Oliver Wyman, these can also signal important opportunities for O&P practitioners and business owners.

“I think, as you sit here, you could think this world is scary with all of these changes or you could be curious or interested or you could say, ‘I’m excited at this brave, fun new road that’s coming in the next could years,’” Lovdal said during the keynote address at the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association World Congress. “I hope more of you are in the latter camp.”

Michael L. Lovdal

According to Lovdal, the “mega-forces” that are altering the health care landscape are public sector health reform, the shift from volume-based to value-based care, new scientific advances, a move toward more consumer-centric health services, health information technology and competitive upheaval.

Although each of these forces present challenges for O&P, as well as the wider health care environment, there are ways practitioners and owners can use these as guides to better serve their patients. For example, O&P professionals can use the current state of government health reform as an opportunity to be a source of information and guidance for patients, Lovdal said. In addition, practitioners and owners can respond to the shift in volume-based to value-based care by managing coordination between themselves, physicians and therapists.

“Be on the forefront of who is going to be coordinating that care,” Lovdal said. “Make it seamless. The patient already sees you as their advocate and partner. You ought to be the first person they come to in order to ask about coordinating with their surgeon or their physical therapist.”

In the face of advancements in science, Lovdal said O&P professionals should stay at the forefront of new diagnostics for prevention and intervention. In devising a consumer-centric health model, owners and practitioners should build their brand as an advocate for patients, he added.

In addition, O&P professionals should adopt new information technology tools to better measure and manage quality, cost, access and the patient experience, Lovdal said. Lastly, Lovdal said competitive upheaval can also bring new personal and occupational opportunities.

“Stay tuned. Watch the winners, particularly the start-up winners and the hot, new consumer solutions companies,” he said. “There will be some losers, so pick your spots carefully.” – by Jason Laday


Lovdal ML. The changing U.S. health care landscape. Presented at: American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association World Congress; Sept. 6-9, 2017; Las Vegas.

: Lovdal reports he is an emeritus partner with Oliver Wyman.


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