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June 1986

Oracular Views of Medicine's Future: Will They Become Self-fulfilling Prophecies?

Arch Ophthalmol. 1986;104(6):817. doi:10.1001/archopht.1986.01050180051028

The rate and magnitude of change in the socioeconomic aspects of medicine have been nothing short of staggering during the past few years. Many ophthalmologists have wistfully uttered, "If I could only predict the changes in health care delivery over the next five to ten years, I could prepare myself properly." Accurate forecasts of future ophthalmic practices, however, are difficult to make.1 A recently published study, "Health Care in the 1990s: Trends and Strategies," could prove to be helpful.2 This 42-page pamphlet, published under the combined aegis of the American College of Hospital Administrators and Arthur Andersen & Co, is replete with provocative predictions.

These two organizations used an interesting predictive technique, namely, a Delphi panel of 1,000 experts from various sectors of the health care industry, including physicians, hospital managers, executives of other types of health care providers (eg, ambulatory care centers, health maintenance organizations), legislators, governmental