We enter the New Year with optimism for healthcare, and we continue with our series of potential healthcare reform ideas for the post ObamaCare era. We still believe that ObamaCare will effectively be replaced in the next couple of years. Additionally, we hope that many aspects of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA or ObamaCare) will survive. However, we are convinced that we need more than a new ACA.
The ACA has practically done nothing to control cost, nor have they made healthcare in the U.S. more consumer friendly. President Obama has taken credit for the reduced rate of growth in healthcare spending from 2010-2014; though he was misinformed and misrepresented the fact, and/or it was just plain misdirection.
Due to the economic conditions where consumers deferred care, the rate of growth rate in healthcare cost trends has dropped since debuting in 2009; that is not up for debate. As a matter of fact, national healthcare expenditures increased materially in 2015, up 5.8% to a new record, so far it was the peak year for ObamaCare.
In this second part of our series, we are noting that one of the huge opportunities to reduce the actual cost rate in healthcare is with material and consistent consumer engagement in their own wellness. This will aid in monitoring the system, as well as improve their overall wellness. Today we can use unprecedented technology to achieve nearly anything in our world.
Let us look at specific opportunities…
Today, every electronic healthcare record certified in the U.S. must have a patient portal – that was a great start! However, the issue with this is that the average 65-year-old Medicare would have to access five or six different systems because those are the average number of doctors each has. Moreover, the information contained in each is likely to be just a little different, which in turn is limited in value. The patient can communicate with his or her provider using these systems however, there is NO communications between systems and providers. This is a major problem and one we as a company that has tried to address it with an all-in-one integrated Personal wellness record.
The next issue is that our smart phones, smart cars, smart homes and even our smart wearables, don’t communicate our wellness to each other, to any one provider or platform, let alone to any or all of our providers.
We live in a technology infused world today, and yet without a doubt, the gap in the use of technology outside and inside of healthcare has never been so wide. We should use technology to help patients monitor their wellness, every action, and every set of data to communicate that information to the EHR, and their providers. All of this data will then allow better usage in the population for health management.
Until we begin to use the power of technology in our hands, we will not make a meaningful impact on healthcare costs.
– Noel J. Guillama, President