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Technology in Healthcare, Chipping Away
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Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/25/2015 5:29:12 AM
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..

I immediately thought of Jim's blog and his lament about the slow progress of analytics in healthcare this AM as I read these observations in Robert Reich's op-ed "Happy Birthday Medicare" in the Huffington Post:


America still spends about over $19 billion a year fixing medical errors, the worst rate among advanced countries. Such errors are the third major cause of hospital deaths.

One big reason is we keep patient records on computers that can't share the data. Patient records are continuously re-written and then re-entered into different computers. That leads to lots of mistakes.


 

Reich is responding to recent calls by Job Bush, Paul Ryan, and other rightwing leaders to eliminate the Medicare program.

 

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/20/2015 9:56:39 AM
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@Broadway. Sorry, but open upfront pricing for healthcare (acknowledging that there always can be surprises, just like when you bring your car in for repairs), just makes too much sense. If they did that and also had Yelp scores/reviews you might actually want to make a choice between two specialists or test centers.

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/17/2015 8:48:45 PM
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The providers don't want you or the insurance companies to know their real costs. Heck, it's hard enough to get their "real prices." But imagine if healthcare had the same transparency as car buying does now ... he's what it costs the hospital to provide that service, here's what they would like to charge you and your insurer, and here is the reasonable price that most people in your area are paying. Talk about consumer-driven healthcare...

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/17/2015 11:44:04 AM
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@Broadway. I was thinking more in terms of "outright greed" but "borderline fraud" works too. Imagine if someone applied real analytics to determine real medical costs. Sorry, I'm not optimistic about that happening.

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/16/2015 9:54:38 PM
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Jamescon, you're talking about two problems: one, caused by defensive medicine --- giving tests to avoid being sued --- and the other implying borderline fraudulent billing practices. If tech does anything good it ought to cut administrative costs.

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/16/2015 8:55:43 AM
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@kq4ym. Good point about technology actually increasing -- or at least helping to increase -- costs. One area of increase certainly is in diagnostics, where every healthcare facility feels they need to do every type of test and have areas of specialty that require more equipment.The payers cover those costs, whether the patient uses them or not.

However, I also think that technology on the business side helps to hide added costs in that there are so many extras lumped into a string of bills -- $10 here, $500 there -- that no human sees a consolidated bill, and all the system sees are a lot of isolated charges that are "within the right range." So, a half hour visit to urgent care, 20 minutes of which is wait time, can end up costing $500 or more.

 

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/16/2015 8:25:09 AM
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The problem may very well lie in the proposition that there are "so many constituencies in the healthcare sector" that bringing together all the underlying interests is not an easy task. While "affordable" might be the goal of insurance companies and consumers, it's most likely not for the hospitals, pharmaceautical comnpanies, and the health providers. Having a real tight reign over just what to charge makes it a tough battle between the suppliers and providers and those who pay the bills. I wonder if in many ways technology encourages higher cost instead of the reverse?

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/14/2015 7:57:27 PM
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@Lyndon. I think we can make progress on healthcare tech in 2015, but I doubt that there will be a major status change over the next few months. I think a case could be made for saying that analytics changed a field like marketing over the course of a year or two. However, technology -- analytics or other -- haven't revolutionized any other market that quickly. As humans we like to look back and think that technology changed this or that in our lives in 12 or 24 months. That's the benefit of seeing history in a rearview mirror. The PC? Web? Ecommerce? Mobility? Think a decade or more.

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/14/2015 5:48:11 PM
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..

I don't know that the following article answers Jim's final question, but it seems to offer a somewhat hopeful outlook:

Will 2015 really be the year of healthcare technology?

 

Re: Pulling it all together
  • 7/8/2015 6:34:43 PM
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@Lyndon. I think there's pretty much universal agreement that the ACA tried to do too much, and, yes, it was the result of legislative gridlock. So, in the end it was, "If in doubt, include it." Heck, even professionals couldn't find their way through the 2,000-plus pages.

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