Happy Labor Day!

Photo by Karl Magnuson on Unsplash

The FEHBlog drove from New Haven, CT, to Bethesda, MD, today with a stop in Long Island. Traffic was quite cooperative. This trip allowed the FEHBlog to listen to this week’s Econtalk episode in which Econtalk host Russ Roberts interviewed leadership expert Margaret Heffernan about her new book “Uncharted — How to Navigate the Future.” “The central thesis of her book is that while the future may be unpredictable, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it. And smart organizations and people can learn how to do it.” Here’s a valuable nub from the conversation:

I remember–oh, I don’t know, probably 2010 to 2012–having a number of arguments with my husband about when the next banking crash would be. And it suddenly struck me, this was just a stupid argument. Right? Because neither of us knew. No little economic fairy had sprinkled gold dust on us.

And, I said, ‘Okay, let’s ask a different question. Let’s ask the question: If there is another banking crash, or when there is another banking crash, what will we wish we had been doing right now?’ And, we thought through that in some pretty gritty detail about where we would want our investments to be, where we would want to be, what resources we would want to have. And so we slightly changed some of the things we were doing. We accelerated some things. We put other things on hold. And, what it did is it left us feeling, ‘Okay, we don’t know what the future is, but we think we’ve placed ourselves in a reasonably robust context.’ And actually that’s pretty much all we can do.

Accordingly, time would be better spent on thinking about how to restructure healthcare in the post pandemic world or how to better deal with a similar pandemic in the future and not on trying to figure out when this particular pandemic will end. Of course, everyone should work together toward the end of the current pandemic as it eventually will end.

The FEHBlog noticed for example that the benefit consulting firm Willis Towers Watson is holding a virtual conference later this month on resetting health and other employee benefits for the post-pandemic world. The conference website links to already available articles on this important topic.

What’s more with respect to getting current job done, the Wall Street Journal reports this weekend,

FDA [r]egulators authorized [last week] a new test developed by Fluidigm that uses saliva rather than a nasal swab. The clinical study associated with Fluidigm’s submission to the FDA demonstrated 100% agreement between the saliva results and paired nasopharyngeal samples. Fluidigm’s test returns results in several hours. Meanwhile, OraSure Technologies is developing a nasal-swab test that is potentially suitable for at-home use and could be ready this fall. * * * Thanks to health care innovation, a return to normalcy for the United States might just be in the cards in the months ahead.

Amen to that.

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