With an industry-wide focus on patient safety, electronic medical records, strategic alliances, new efficiencies, and more, Richard Pollack, executive vice president of advocacy and public policy for the American Hospital Association (AHA), said that those working in the healthcare industry have the opportunity to change the way care is delivered for generations to come. 
"Our field is on the edge of a revolution," Pollack told the attendees of the ASHE PDC Summit in Orlando. 
Pollack was on hand for a plenary session to give a bird's-eye view of the healthcare landscape on Capitol Hill. 
With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now the law of the land, Pollack says he expects it to stay that way through the current presidency and beyond. "Now people are actually benefitting from the law," he said. "Unlike a year ago, if you repeal it, people get hurt."
Instead, Pollack said, the overall sense at the AHA is that reform is here to stay, but there will be significant fixes to come. 
In terms of how those tweaks might touch the future of care delivery, he said it's unlikely to change from what the industry has come to know: Value will replace volume. "The platform for carrying that out includes a number of different things," he noted, such as the creation of accountable care organizations or medical home models of care. 
However, despite opposition to the ACA, Pollack said that what's being argued isn't the shift to quality over quantity, nor directives for transparency, IT, or insurance reforms. "What we fight over is coverage and how do you pay for it," he said. 
With some clarity as to the likely form the future will take, at least in terms of those agreed-upon pieces, the AHA has identified five pathways for organizations to pursue to get to the new value-driven world of care: redefine, experiment, integrate, partner, or specialize. "That's what everyone in the field is struggling with," he said. 
While the future of exactly what the hospital as an entity will become, Pollack said the organization expects it to remain an important player in the continuum of care.