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Mobile Health Technology
A mobile healthcare technology blog, sponsored by AccelaMOBILE and run by White Plume Technologies.
Does Healthcare IT need a ‘Disruptor’? – Day 4
POTENTIAL DISRUPTORS OF THE FUTURE?
Single Patient Identifier:
HIPAA required every healthcare provider in the US be assigned an NPI (National Provider Identifier): a CMS issued 10-digit number used by all health plans in an effort to streamline HIPAA standard transactions and coordination of benefits transactions. What if, in this age of disparate systems, every patient was issued a single patient identifier: one number that would follow that patient for life, no matter the condition, provider, hospital, state, etc. Think what this could do with HIE (health information exchange) and coordination of patient care.
No Meaningful Use:
What would landscape of healthcare IT look like if there was no Meaningful Use (or ICD-10 or payment reform): all of the time energy, etc. not allocated to MU requirements but allocated to new developments? Vendors and healthcare providers and support teams (IT, administrative) are all scrambling to prepare for and take advantage of MU dollars. What if software vendors could take all of this development focus and put it into projects that might directly affect patient care and provider efficiency? What if healthcare providers and their teams didn’t have to devote so much time and energy to learning new rules and modifying behaviors?
While there are many questions regarding the details, most people agree that there will be a change in the way hospitals and physicians are paid for their services. Will ACOs become the standard model of healthcare delivery? Will reimbursements be tied to outcomes rather than production? Who will decide where healthcare dollars are spent? A federal committee based on evidence based medicine? Maybe patients will bear more of the financial burden and will force providers to compete on price? The details of what this change looks like will dramatically impact how healthcare is delivered.
Shortage of Primary Care Doctors:
The trend for medical students to lean towards specialties (vs. primary care) has been evident for a while now. The result: fewer and fewer primary care doctors. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, how will this shortage of primary care doctors affect healthcare for the elderly as well as overall? Will we start to see group appointments? Perhaps the doctor sees you and your spouse or you and a friend in one appointment slot? Will nurse practitioners take charge in the primary care arena? Will ACOs and preventive medicine ease the burden, even with fewer primary care doctors? Perhaps we will start to see some incentives in payments, etc. to encourage primary care as a desired specialty.
A General Thought
In healthcare reform, are we missing the forest from the trees? All of the current changes and disruptors are requiring a lot of mindshare, time, and money. Will the end result really be better healthcare in the US? Perhaps EHRs, MU and ACOs will dramatically enhance preventive and acute care, but at what cost? Currently, so much is involved in documenting an encounter – does this really result in better care? Patient and provider satisfaction should be taken into account when it comes to healthcare and generally, increased regulation and mandates cause confusion and delay. In providing top-notch care, there is no room for confusion and delay.