Healthcare in the United States is a big business. It’s an industry estimated to be worth $3 trillion. You would expect all that spending to be translated into the best health outcomes in the world, but that’s not the case. Industry leaders, including Drew Madden, a healthcare IT executive and entrepreneur, are trying to better understand how we can take advantage of technology to better those health outcomes.
One of the issues that these healthcare leaders face is that the industry is unique. There are certainly private parties involved who are motivated by their own self interests, and there are also government entities and strict regulations that you have to deal with. Some of the payment incentives just don’t make sense, the choices that people have are confusing and restrictive, and politics sometimes gets in the way of forward progress.
The good news is that there is room for innovation. Web products are being built to help older Americans create advance directives, hospitals are now digitized and ready to share information electronically, and individual health data is now able to be tracked.
In two huge moves, Amazon and CVS have announced that they’re ready to join the healthcare industry. Amazon has already obtained pharmacy licenses in several states, ready to consolidate resources as it has in the e-commerce industry. CVS is in the final steps of buying the insurance company Aetna. Will these move result in lower prices, greater transparency, and more efficient delivery? Amazon and CVS, along with their potential patients/customers, certainly hope so.
As a seasoned IT executive, Madden might not be surprised by these shifts in healthcare. He pushed for the expansion of electronic medical records and currently works for Evergreen Healthcare Partners. Evergreen is another player in the business that wants to help organizations find smart and practical solutions through technology.
What does the future look like in terms of healthcare in the US? The efficient way to conduct business and deliver healthcare where it’s needed is to use data to drive decision making.