Obamacare and the Digital Age for Healthcare
Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), which will require millions of businesses to provide health insurance for their workers, will change the way care is delivered and paid for. It will focus on outcomes rather than fee for service and it will reduce payments to providers who do not measure up. That is why there is a new rash of investors and entrepreneurs suddenly interested, as there is money to be made for start-ups that can quickly adapt to this new healthcare model.
A few of the latest offerings are IntelligentM, which is a company that makes a smart bracelet that help hospitals decrease acquired infections (which cost the healthcare system almost $30 billion a year). There is also AdHere Tech which monitors patients to make sure they are taking their medications. And then there is Care at Hand, which is a medical information mobile app for home care workers that uses an algorithm to spot patients who may be headed for trouble.
Another part of Obamacare challenges hospitals to reduce readmission, which the federal government says costs Medicare $26 billion annually. Under the new law, hospitals that readmit too many patients whom they've treated for pneumonia, heart failure, or heart attack will have their reimbursement rates reduced. A start-up called Health Recovery Solutions has invented a tablet-based app that connects via wi-fi to a scale and pedometer. Hospitals are now sending this home with patients to track their weight and activity. Patients also take surveys on the app to monitor their recovery and results are shared with their doctors and family members so major problems can be spotted early.
Interestingly, the Affordable Care Act has been likened to the revolution of the iPhone, as it is bringing a shock to the healthcare industry in terms of importance of the use of technology. It could also possibly bring us into the Digital Age of healthcare. Feel free to share your thoughts related to the new healthcare technologies now available and how you feel they are changing how care is delivered.