Our short series on the Top 10 issues facing healthcare begins today.
Recently a survey of healthcare leaders run by HealthCare Executive Group compiled their top concerns for the future of healthcare. Since we know our fair share of hospital execs, this list didn't exactly surprise us.
And, if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you won't be surprised that we have some opinions (supported by little things like science and experience) on each of them.
So let's count down the list, starting at...
10. Privacy / Security
Since it's at the bottom of the list, we immediately thought we'd written too much about this. Especially lately. Were we biased because we're a company that brings technology into the clinical space and are constantly worrying about the security of the data we're safeguarding?
Maybe. Or maybe - by virtue of it being in the Top 10 Concerns - cybersecurity is worth worrying about. So what are you doing about it?
9. Healthcare Policy
Rumblings have gotten louder lately about what Washington - and every state capital and every DA's office - is going to do to healthcare.
That's probably because Congress just got back from its summer break. But it's also because the people are demanding that change. No congressman would be talking about drug price control or redesigning insurance if people did not want it. (Drug price control talks, by the way, that barely impacted the pharmaceuticals market.)
By the same token, hundreds of people would not be locked up and denied healthcare if the American people didn't want it.
So - as we've said before - vote for healthcare. Whatever you think that healthcare ought to be. And when you encounter public or private policy that threatens your ability to care for the health of your patients, fight it. If you convince enough people that something should be policy, it becomes policy.
8. Accessible Points of Care
We just last week wrote about how innovation often fails, but that's no excuse not to try. The makeup of your patients is shifting, and the way you provide care for them has to shift accordingly.
The problem, then, is not if you should expand your accessibility, but how. Yes, telehealth is growing in popularity, but because it's tempting to jump on a new technology as quickly as possible, providers might fail to vet the process - and the people behind it - well enough to prevent problems like the massive fraud story that wrapped this week.
So how do you guarantee that you're working with a company that will provide your patients a benefit and do it in the right way? See how transparent the solution provider is. Ask what proof it has that what it's offering works. Ask around. The right company will prove its promises.
7. Next-Generation Payment Models
Healthcare providers want compensation for their time, passion, and expertise. And that's absolutely fair. The cost of providing that excellent healthcare, though, has skyrocketed in the last 10-20 years. And that places an unfair burden on the people trying to remain healthy.
As we said above, the momentum this is gaining in government proves that changing how patients interact with the finance side of healthcare - whether it's eliminating "surprise" billing or reducing cost across the board - is something the people demand.
No, it's not exciting to get the CFO and CIO together to devise convenient, reasonable payment options for patients. But it's better than suing the people under your care. It's better than jeopardizing their health because you took their house away.
6. Holistic Individual Health
This one's been hard to adjust to. Especially because we're used to thinking of hospitals as solution rather than prevention.
But social determinants of health cannot be ignored. Obviously, like we said in #7, being homeless greatly increases your risk for poor health. We covered our friends at Kaiser Permanente admirably beginning to address just that.
If you want to make it as cold a calculation as possible, consider the expense of performing procedures that address complications arising from obesity, for example, then consider the expense of going into the community to advocate for a healthier lifestyle.
The math doesn't always work out in favor of compassion. But in this case, it does.
Join us again in a few weeks when we break down the Top 5 Challenges facing healthcare. Because, if you know us, you know how excited we get about cost avoidance. (Yes, we're nerds, but you're reading this, so you must be, too. And that's great!)