John O’Connor

A very exciting two months for this sector is about to kick off.

On Wednesday, more than 3,000 industry professionals will convene in Chicago for the NIC Fall Conference. Not to be outdone, the American Health Care Association and LeadingAge will hold their annual shindigs next month.

Operators will certainly have plenty to chat about at each event. Among the future topics that will surely be on the docket: The imminent implementation of Medicare’s Patient-Driven Payment Model, implications of a cooling down economy, where to find and keep staff, reducing regulatory oversight, beefing up the bottom line, caregiving shifts and new funding structures, just to name a few.

But here’s a funny thing about the future: All these issues and more are not in some bottle waiting to be uncorked. Operators are already waist-deep in many of them. 

Consider PDPM. Chances are good your organization has been ramping up for the Oct. 1 scheduled launch date for months, if not years, in one way or another.

The key takeaway here for those trying to get a better handle on the future? It’s this: Understand that the changes are already underway. Not only that, but industry leaders need to “develop a methodology for perceiving and analyzing those changes,” according to the late Peter Drucker. He offered this actionable response in his book “Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”

So if you haven’t done so already, take a moment to write down the major trends in this market that have already appeared. Then write a few sentences about how long they are likely to last and — more importantly — how they have and likely will affect your organization.

That simple exercise will provide real insight about the future. It also will help ensure that your organization is not derailed by something that’s sitting in plain view.

 John O’Connor is McKnight’s Editorial Director.