Chronic diseases are still taking a costly toll on American lifestyles and healthcare spending. While many healthcare IT initiatives are improving chronic disease management, few are focused on improving a person's general health.
Healthcare IT spends more time on creating connections within and among healthcare providers and less time on improving population health, which could reduce costs greatly in the long term. General Electric, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and IBM are working to solve some of the biggest challenges in healthcare IT including system interoperability, integration and cost control. New alliances are intent on improving patient engagement, provider efficiency and payer cost savings to optimize care via Affordable Care Act mandates.
The current system cannot possibly handle the growing number of sick people and influx of more chronic patients. The CDC estimates that half of Americans have at least 1 chronic condition while 25% of them have two or more chronic conditions who take up 86% of healthcare spending. The race to connect infrastructures is directed at helping manage those who are already sick, which leaves many American consumers without the necessary care to avoid these preventable and costly chronic diseases.
Consumers need companies like General Electric, Dell, HP and IBM to focus their efforts on keeping people healthy by looking at ways that technology can solve the problems of poor food choices and sedentary lifestyles that are driving the prevalence of chronic diseases in the first place. Ultimately, organizations working in healthcare IT need to dedicate more time on motivating people to live healthier since that will truly optimize the healthcare system in a way that will reduce costs and improve overall patient care.
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