SCOTUS Ruling Positive for Healthcare IT
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, industry experts are looking at what the long-term implications for the HIT industry are.
Two separate views, one optimistic the other pessimistic, reflect the continued uncertainty for industry in the coming years.
Writing in MedCityNews.com recently, Dr. David Scher, picks out five sectors that will benefit from the current healthcare trends regarding cost-savings and increased accountability.
The first sector Dr. Scher cites is informatics.
The collection and processing of data into project-driven objectives will be critical to drive revenue at an institutional level. This will involve supply chain requirements, outcomes-based reimbursement management programs, formulation of discharge planning and institution of home health solutions. This type of IT will provide the biggest bang for the buck, but it will likely not be a priority to most hospitals in the near future. Meeting other IT mandates and obtaining trained personnel are presently their biggest concerns.
Dr. Scher goes on to cite four other technologies for their potential in achieving cost savings: mobile apps, telemedicine, peer-to-peer social networking and remote patient monitoring.
Regarding the last technology, he notes
More patients seeking care (using remote patient monitoring) because they will be insured. This means more patients with chronic diseases seeking care. Remote patient monitoring, whether it encompasses text messaging or sensors delivering actionable alerts of vital signs, glucose levels or other information has promise to lead to more care at home. This can decrease incidences of hospital-acquired infection and death from institutional medication and other mishaps. It may also increase medication adherence.
Summing up, he observes:
While the SCOTUS decision will not directly affect technology, the ramifications of it will provide a more pressing impetus to develop, approve, and adopt it.
A somewhat more negative outlook on the potential for real cost savings and improved care is found in an interview with Don Berwick, MD, former head of CMS. The interview, originally in Health Affairs, was summartized and reprinted in a HealthLeaders article.
In the article Dr. Berwick is quoted as comparing the U.S. healthcare industry to the auto industry 40 years ago. After the passage of the first legislation requiring smog control on cars,
In Japan the auto industry responded by mobilizing to reduce emissions. In the US, the industry mobilized to change the law. “This is the strategy choice that we’re going to face” in healthcare, Berwick explained.
Dr. Berwick also expressed concern over health insurance exchanges, a key aspect of insuring more people.
Berwick believes health insurance exchanges are among the most difficult aspects of the PPACA. States are struggling with the mechanics of setting up this new “creative and agile element” of the healthcare coverage system. “It’s a serious challenge. We can do it, but we have to be serious about it.” The difficulty of the task is “compounded by political polarization.”
This is the view in early July. The outlook could change after the November elections, particularly if the Republicans win control of the White House and both houses of Congress.