Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Transformative Potential of Health IT

Mark Smith, MD President and CEO of the California Health Foundation discusses the potential of health information technology to transform medical care. It will transform medical care much in the same way that online travel agencies such as expedia and travelocity revolutionized the way people travel and plan trips.

He remarks that Wal-mart knows more about that can of beans on the shelf...where it came from, where it is now, where it is going, who bought it, and what else they bought on that shopping excursion.

I don't know beans about that but I do know that health IT has the potential to revolutionize the way we care for our patients.

Our system is now based on 'visits' and coding.  Improving our efficiency and reducing patient visits by 10-20% will reign economic catastrophe upon our present system.  Imagine your business sustaining a drop of 20% (and possibly more) in volume and/or income. 

Much as was accomplished in the hospital environment in the later 1980s and 1990s, where the DRG drove shorter stays, and reductions in admissions and only for acute and/or critical illnesses, so too will this next wave of innovation drive a reduction in visits to  physicians offices for routine care. The visit will no longer be sustainable, unless indicated and that service could not otherwise be delivered.   Much care will be delivered electronically by telemedicine, remote monitoring, video conferencing, email, etc. 

This will be the true power of the transformative potential of health IT.

None of the above is my idea.  It is well covered in Dr. Smith's presentation. Definitely food for thought.

Medicare fueled tremendous inflation in medical care, it has had it's beneficial effects on the elderly population. We now see more government infusion into health care in the area of information technology.  Will this drive further inflation for health care and health care IT?

What we need is not hundred thousand dollar EMRs and million dollar health information exchanges based upon complex networking, but a simple cheap solution to address the clinicians' challenges.

One such device is the 'Medi-Chip" and the 'Key 2 Life', both innovative ideas produced by Norman Eisenberg of Miami, Florida. I recommend you link over to his website to learn more about it




And that is my two cents for today.

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