Issues with Health Care Today

With the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference (HIMSS 17) happening this week, lets talk about some of the issues we face in health care today.

Being born with a heart condition I have had a chance to see how healthcare has evolved and how it has stagnated in innovation in recent years due to inherent risk to the bottom-line. Reducing revenue, patient risk as well as pressure from big pharma and insurance companies has kept the status quo. It’s crazy to think that we can order food from our phones, yet can’t even schedule our appointments online at most physicians offices and hospitals. We have the most expensive and least effective healthcare system in the world, it’s broken so we need to fix it.

Let’s outline the issues:

There is a lack of technology in healthcare as a whole. Think about when you go into a doctor’s office and you tell them what’s wrong or if you go to a hospital and nurses are tracking your symptoms, they still write it on a piece of paper at most hospitals and physicians offices, it’s crazy! Well, what happens when the nurse or doctor can’t read what’s been written or worse what if that paper gets lost. To put that in perspective, hospital errors are the no.3 leading cause of death in the U.S.

Where there is some technology, it is often difficult to use and is not standardized, so if you go to an Emergency room that doctor will likely have to spend time trying to get your primary care doctor on the phone to better understand how to care for you. It’s happened to me before, the ER doctors spent hours trying to track down my cardiologist to get a rundown on what medications or tests need to be run on me, all the while I was lying there in pain waiting for care. How can we solve this?

Standardization of basic medical protocols needs to happen. Even better, a shared database of all the different medical protocols that an Artificial Intelligence program(AI) can run through to find the right match or machine learning like auto correct and predictive typing on your phone. So, the doctor has more time to care for you without wasting time to figure out how to use their charting and electronic health records(EHR) system.

There are competing interest’s in healthcare — The patients, the providers, pharmaceuticals, and insurance companies. There are always pockets to fill and the way hospitals and physicians offices maintain funding and the influence of big pharma on doctors is a huge issue. This is something I’ve experienced first-hand, a doctor keep pushing me to take accutane given the side-effects and my family’s history of depression, because it was something he sponsored. There’s a huge influence on doctors conducting trials and how prescribe one medication over the other based on influence of big pharma, so that they keep their prices high.

Insurance companies influence which doctors you go to and how often you can see them, this presents a huge issue to the efficiency of healthcare, because in any given year your doctor could stop taking your health insurance and the doctor you have been seeing for years is gone. If you are underprivileged and on Medicaid or Medicare, you are going have a tough time getting the proper care. Most doctors do not accept medicaid or medicare, because they do not receive their payment as quickly as they would with a private insurance company.

Our healthcare system is most expensive and least effective in the world and it’s only getting worse, so how can we bring the cost of healthcare, insurance premiums, and medications down while increasing the quality and value of the care we give to people. The answer is innovation and I’ll dive deeper into that in the next post.

Via - Digital Health Informer