This is a blog about retirement plans. So why, you might ask, am I reviewing a book about health care? I’m certainly not an expert on this complicated topic. But I am an expert on paying for it as a business owner, as a health care consumer, and an expert on watching client business owners and their employees also deal with it. And as costs and premiums continue to escalate, seeing these same employers and employees shift dollars more into health care at the expense of retirement savings.

So what’s the solution? In the view of many experts, it’s not legislation that will fix health care system in the form of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Indeed, one expert, Paul Kasriel who is Senior Vice President and Director of Economic Research at The Northern Trust, says the PPACA “primarily represents a redistribution of income from the young and healthy to the under-65 less healthy.”

Others more cynical point to the new 10 percent tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1 as part of PPACA.

Jim Champy and Harry Greenspun, M.D. provide a different approach in their new book, REENGINEERING HEALTH CARE: A Manifesto for Radically Rethinking Health Care Delivery. You may remember Jim Champy as the co-author with Michael Hammer of the 1993 book, RENGINEERING THE CORPORATION: A Manifesto for Business Revolution.

The earlier book certainly lived up to its title as it went on to change the thinking on how companies should structure work. In the process, their book sold more than 3,000,000 copies world wide, spent more than a year on The New York Times Best Seller List, and was translated into 17 languages.

Champy and Greenspun apply the same pioneering reengineering methodology to show that the health care industry is rife with opportunity for radical redesign to enhance quality and lower costs dramatically. Reengineering can improve the system in ways that government can’t by focusing on three main areas:

  • How technology can create more seamless, accessible, valued, and sustainable health care systems and avoid technology’s pitfalls.
  • How processes focusing on prevention and wellness and less on chronic disease and hospitals can better meet needs of patients.
  • How the skills and behavior of the people who deliver health care can be tapped to replace outmoded ways with the talent, hopes, and ideas of a new generation.

From my vintage point as a business owner and health care consumer, my vote is for reengineering rather than "reform". Here is a link to the book at Amazon if you want to make up your own mind and a link to its predecessor