As the mHealth Summit in Washington DC approaches in a couple of weeks, I expect the excitement to only be outpaced by the hype that often surrounds technology shows like these.
Companies will showcase their devices and applications for monitoring patients, sending medical scans, prescribing meds, filing insurance claims and diagnosing injuries, while organizations in the health care industry continue supporting technical upgrades that can offer a high quality of service and reduce the even higher cost of providing health care. Been there, done that.
Skepticism aside, I look forward to attending these events. I enjoy speaking with people who work throughout the health care ecosystem because I am a firm believer that technology can, and will, provide solutions to a number of issues facing this industry - and we all know there is no shortage of issues.
All you need to do is look at the annual amount of money spent on health care to understand why something needs to be done. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, approximately $2.2 trillion was spent on health care in 2007. Fast forward to 2018 and health care spending is estimated to skyrocket to $4.4 trillion. This is assuming the current health care system remains intact. So, in ten years, things like prescriptions, tests and insurance premiums will cost much, much more than they do today!
Health care events continue to promise, "this is the year" when some of the latest and greatest technology will finally make things better. But alas, we've been hearing that for years. Five to ten years ago telemedicine was prescribed as the solution to enhance the quality of services and reduce costs. Today, it is how we'll be able to do those same things telemedicine promised on a mobile phone.
What I have noticed is that enhancements to medical technology is outpacing acceptance. Patients, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, and others, all need to do a better job of utilizing some of the technical instruments that are available to them. They also need enact education programs for all these groups so they can make knowledgeable decisions on alternative ways of managing their health care.
The lack of a basic understanding of how technology can positively impact health care -- from when a patient walks into a doctor's office, to receiving emergency treatment across the country, to eliminating the redundancy of completing the same insurance forms -- needs to be addressed. It's one of the things I hope is recognized and addressed at the mHealth event.
It is often said that ignorance is bliss. In the case of health care, it is curable...through technology.Follow me on Twitter: @TechnicalJones