Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Perspectives on the Future of Healthcare and IT.. a Video Interview

I was recently "Video-interviewed" about my thoughts on the future of healthcare and IT.  These types of interviews are usually quick - two questions, five minutes... hopefully some value!  Here are my two questions and a summary of my answers:

Where is the healthcare industry headed?
I believe healthcare is currently a runaway train with an unsustainable model.  But there is hope if we can adapt reimbursement models to incentivize value over volume, and use HIT to simplif, automate and delegate all the care that needs to be done.  With respect to HIT, since over 80% of physicians have an EMR in place, we now an infrastructure or platform on which to build "EMR Extender Tools" which allow for better EMR functionality, efficiency, and effectiveness.  Furthermore, we need to focus HIT efforts on Population Health, Virtual care, and Workflow Efficiency to meet the increasing demands for care that are upon us.  With respect to population health; ACOs and other types of volume-based to value-based reimbursement changes will make it easier and financially viable to really manage the health population well - but we need the right HIT tools to risk stratify the population and then manage them more easily.  Meanwhile, we should see a rapid expansion of virtual care as technologies and demand sync up. Lastly, as physicians (and staff) are burning out quickly, using HIT to create workflow efficiency by simplifying, automating delegating care, is vital to the performance of doctors, as well as the health of patients (which is why I helped found healthfinch to build software solutions that allow medical groups to redesign care more efficiently and effectively). 

What is an HIT Innovation you would like to see happen soon?
I think we are getting closer and closer to “ubiquitous monitoring.” Wearable devices are available, but right now these are often just used by the “healthy and wealthy.” Although this is a good starting point, there is a need to develop patient monitoring tools that are fully ubiquitous - so that collecting biometric data becomes a simple byproduct of everyday life.  These may start as being embedded in smart phones, and now we are seeing them woven into in clothes, but soon we will have watches, patches and even injected nanotechnologies. As these evolve, doctors will be able to receive regular, real-time monitoring of their patients. From there, one can feed data into a rules engine to notify doctors (or even patients themselves) if something is medically wrong. This portends a fantastic future for remote monitoring so that doctors do not have to rely on patients to manually input data all the time and wait for them to come into the office to explain there is a problem.