By Dhiren Patel
Being born with a heart condition I have had a chance to see how healthcare has evolved or stagnated in innovation due to inherent risk to the bottom-line. Reducing revenue, patient risk, and pressure from big pharmaceutical companies and insurance has kept the status quo. It’s crazy to think that we can order food from our phones and yet can’t even schedule our appointments online at most physicians offices and hospitals. We have the most expensive and least effective healthcare system in the world, it’s broken so we need to fix it.
Let’s outline the issues:
There is a lack of technology in healthcare as a whole. Think about when you go into a doctor’s office and you tell them what’s wrong or if you go to a hospital and nurses are tracking your symptoms, they still write it on a piece of paper at most hospitals and physicians offices! Well, what happens when the nurse or doctor can’t read what’s been written or worse what if that paper gets lost. To put that in perspective, hospital errors are the no.3 leading cause of death in the U.S.
Where there is some technology it is often difficult to use and is not standardized so if you go to an Emergency room that doctor will likely have to spend time trying to get your primary care doctor on the phone to better understand how to care for you. It’s happened to me before, the ER doctors spent hours trying to track down my cardiologist to get a rundown on what medications or tests need to be run on me, all the while I was lying there in pain waiting for care. Standardization of basic medical protocols needs to happen. Even better, a shared database of all the different medical protocols and AI can run through to find the right match or machine learning like autocorrect and predictive typing on your phone.
There are competing interest’s in healthcare – The patients, the providers, pharmaceuticals, and insurance companies. There are always pockets to fill and the way hospitals and physicians offices maintain funding and the influence of big pharma on doctors is a huge issue. This is something I’ve experienced first-hand, a doctor keeps pushing me to take Accutane given the side-effects and my family’s history of depression because it was something he sponsored. There’s a huge influence on doctors conducting trials and how to prescribe one medication over the other based on the influence of big pharma so that they keep their prices high.
The insurance companies influence which doctors you go to and how often you can see them, this presents a huge issue to the efficiency of healthcare, because in any given year your doctor could stop taking your health insurance and the doctor you have been seeing for years is gone. If you are underprivileged and on Medicaid or Medicare, you are going have a tough time getting the proper care. Most doctors do not accept Medicaid or medicare because they do not their payment as quickly as they would with a private insurance company.
Our healthcare system is most expensive and least effective in the world and it’s only getting worse, so how can we bring the cost of healthcare, insurance premiums, and medications down while increasing the quality and value of the care we give to people.
The answer is innovation and I’ll dive deeper into that in the next post.