Gary Passama - President and CEO

Into the Blogosphere

Even those of us who own it, live it and breathe it every day do not always comprehend the vast complexity of healthcare. So why expect our patients and the general public to understand what we do and why we do it the way we do it? Yes, there’s the clinical side, which takes a medical degree. But there’s also the public policy of healthcare, which I’m not sure anyone understands—especially politicians. We have made healthcare the most regulated, inspected, monitored and manipulated industry in America.

So it is no wonder we struggle to achieve the so-called “transparency” that would bolster public confidence and enhance our credibility. How do the lyrics to that song go? “The more I learn, the less I understand”?

Frankly, we are not very good at explaining the complex nature of our profession. Sometimes we talk over the heads of our patients, which makes us appear arrogant. Sometimes we point to myriad laws, protocols and regulations that make it sound like it is somebody else’s responsibility or fault. And sometimes we have not figured it out and therefore cannot yet explain it.

We must keep trying. Health care is the No. 1 public policy issue facing the nation. It’s tied to jobs, the overall economy and any hope for recovery. If patients and voters are to make an informed decision—about their own care or about something they confront at the ballot box–they need the straight story from us.

That is why I am writing”Healthcare Insider,” which launched in January on our Web site, www.NorthBay.org. My entry into the blogosphere was a bit tardy, to be sure. But better late than never. I’ve joined a small cadre of healthcare CEOs who believe it’s OK to talk frankly about what we do in order to help you learn more about what we do.

What should we talk about? So far, the blog has addressed many facets of health reform. It has described the dilemma of not having enough doctors for a growing and aging population. And it has tried to explain both the benefit and the peril of electronic medical records. In another blog posting, a physician colleague helped me explain why Canada’s system is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Agree or disagree, but please give it a read. It’s there to be challenged and debated, all in the spirit of increasing awareness and understanding. You’ll find new posts each week, on the bottom of our home page at www.NorthBay.org.

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