There are Unique Economic Opportunities to Improve Healthcare


In “Unscaling the Healthcare Economy”, Hemant Taneja makes some excellent points with regards to unique economic opportunities within the healthcare system that will also improve patient outcomes.

“For too long, the American health care system has prioritized fixing acute problems over managing long-term well being, largely due to the fee-for-service model at the heart of our insurance system.” Taneja goes on to give an example of how healthcare related costs for the diabetic population cost around $250 billion per year.

The team of the modern day healthcare professional now includes a smartphone. What can this smartphone do? Well, in addition angry birds, we know it can do quite a lot! It is important that physicians start to explain to their patients the importance of monitoring their long term health. However, first physicians need to become more comfortable with “prescribing apps”. These apps are often inexpensive and allow for better quality assessments (compared to only a yearly physical exam), and also help to cut costs incurred by the healthcare system.

There are safety concerns, however, about who is developing these apps. This is why it is also becoming more and more important that doctors not only practice day to day medicine, but do their best to stay actively engaged in the software that their patients use. Even if most doctors are not interested in the design or business side of these apps, it is crucial that they are well rounded with the new technology so that the doctor can make informed decisions and better work with their patient. Taneja also mentions that software can help to provide patient data to a doctor that will help the doctor tailor care on a more personal level.

Lastly, hopefully insurance companies will catch up to speed, and start seeing the economic value in apps, technology, and a focus on long term care. Instead of just planning for the upcoming fiscal year, it may benefit insurance companies to look further down the road, like how tailoring a patient’s care based upon long term and not acute outcomes, actually makes economic sense.

Summary by David Eisenberg.

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David Eisenberg is currently a medical student at The Commonwealth Medical College in Scranton, PA, and a contributor to Medical Groups. David believes that it is critically important for physicians to not only be well rounded clinically, but also financially. In an ever changing healthcare system, David hopes to help physicians not only understand how to successfully navigate the dynamic healthcare landscape, but also how to take a leadership role in continuing to develop the medical profession that so many have diligently dedicated their life’s work to. In addition to contributing to Medical Groups, David works with, as well as helps to run an app for pre-med students that he co-founded, PreMD Tracker.

Follow David on twitter: @deisen3