Bioethics Blogs

Outside the Comfort Zone

I always feel a little nervous for the folks who sign up to
be contestants on “Dancing with the Stars” because despite any prior fame or
achievements they are spectacularly and uniquely vulnerable on the dance floor.
Stepping outside their comfort zone is perhaps what we admire about these
celebrities – they are suddenly vulnerable to a different and unfamiliar
scrutiny. Mastering new skills alongside an assigned partner we hope for the
best as the dancers put their best effort on display. There are criteria to be
satisfied (need to show enough Viennese Waltz and Foxtrot moves), and judges to
score how well they met these standards. While there is no small amount of
entertainment value to the evaluation of the contestants, what is interesting
is that the public votes too. This may be a reach, but as healthcare faces new
standards measuring quality under the ACA, we see some interesting parallels.

Like our intrepid celebrity dancers, healthcare institutions
need to adapt to an evolving set of quality measurements under the ACA. As
healthcare institutions brace for the uncertain impact of the ACA regulations
on the day to day operations and finances, those responsible for assuring the
delivery of care are focusing on not only the cost per patient, but also on
improving how patient experience care, and how the health of the community at
large can be improved. Like the dancers finding their footing, the ACA
challenges the healthcare industry to serve patients with agile and efficient
practices in order to not be left behind.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.