Journey from Healthcare to Well-Being

Posted by:Whitridge in Healthcare IT
06 November 2014 0

Healthcare innovation is at a fever pitch if everyone would just get out of the way. That includes providers that refuse to change even if it is in the best interest of the patient and the government that is so possessed with putting their stamp on something just to prove they are serving a purpose.

We just attended the Connected Health Symposium in Boston on the 24th and 25th of October which reinforced my hope that healthcare has finally embraced technology. During the conference we were introduced to multiple forms of Healthcare IT, eHealth, and mobile health applications. One example was an ingestible sensor that allows your vital signs to be monitored constantly and relays information on chronic illnesses like diabetes and COPD to your physician. We were shown an online weight management program that connects the patient with a dietitian online who provides weekly feedback and engages the patient in group discussions on management of diet. We met an innovative company that allows the clinician to record their discharge instructions on a smart phone so the patient, in a less emotional state, can review the instructions again and understand them more clearly. They demonstrated a compelling online physical therapy program that reduces the amount of time a recovering patient is running back and forth from PT and instead allows them to complete their therapy protocol in the comfort of their own home. These are just a few of the inventive Healthcare IT applications that will allow the patient to be more engaged in their health management and free up the critical resources within the provider community to get to the chronically ill who need their maximum attention. How about medication reminders for the elderly who have trouble seeing and remembering what medications to take, this has a direct impact on hospital readmissions which is estimated to be $100 million a year.

These Healthcare IT innovations are demonstrating the type of creative thinking that should reduce healthcare costs in the United States which is estimated at 2.7 trillion dollars and one of every three of those dollars is wasted. We as a patient population must demand change in healthcare; if we are aware of innovative ideas that have a chance of impacting care, we need to influence our physician and our care team to research those tools. We don’t need the FDA putting everything through a multi-year examination process that delays treatment and accelerates cost.

If we have the opportunity to take more control over our health decisions we must embrace it, not shy away from the responsibility of our own health. Much of the Healthcare IT talk and many of the tools and applications are centered on connecting to the patient’s voice and positioning the patient to make evidenced based decisions. If you’re upset about the botching of the website, take that energy and direct it toward finding out how you can take control of your own well-being by pursuing and keeping abreast of the technology that will impact cost and positive outcomes. The blame for the website debacle probably doesn’t lie with any one person but may well be a result of the government’s illogical LPTA (Lowest Price Technically Acceptable) policy which rewards short changing quality for low cost (fodder for another future blog post).

Take charge of your well-being and let’s all accept responsibility for bringing healthcare and well-being into the 21st century.