If You Go Back to the 1980s and Predicting the Future of Healthcare, Were Predictions Correct?

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I think the first premise of the whole future's business is that we can actually predict the future, and I always used to say to my colleagues at the Institute for the Future that the goal was not prediction. It was to make better decisions than the present because you'd thought about where the future may take you.

But I do think it's fair to ask the question what's your batting average in terms of prediction per say and quite honestly batting average is a good metaphor because a good batting average you get it right about third of the time. And I think we actually did a report at the Institute for the Future in the mid 80s called Looking Ahead at American Healthcare that was sponsored by the Robert Johnson Foundation and the Commonwealth Fund, and they did us a reprise of that after I left in the mid late 90s and we did pretty well.

They actually did a batting average deal. But I think what I learned over the years in my work at the Institute for the Future from my mentor Roy Amara who taught us all well is that there is a natural human tendency to overestimate the impact of phenomena in the short run and underestimate in the long run.

That's really is a key learning on prediction. But where we got it right I think was that we did two different scenarios. Costs were gonna continue to go up, and even though many experts said it can't possibly exceed 10% of GNP. We had a sufficient minority opinion of a scenario that it would keep growing in deed and that minority opinion tended to be right.

I think where we also got it right was that the whole issue the uninsured was going to take a long time to solve for a whole bunch of reasons in the short run at least expect decade you will likely see rising number of people were uninsured. And then there was this early promise of managed care when we first did that work and we're still backing that.

We're trying to figure out how to manage the system better.