will the growth of health tech solve the challenges of US healthcare?
posted 10 months ago
posted 10 months ago
Author: Adrian Kinnersley | Global Managing Director
Regardless of any personal opinion surrounding Obamacare, it can’t be denied that the act partially achieved what it set out to do: ensure that more Americans had suitable medical insurance. In fact, thenumber of uninsured Americans dropped from more than 14 percent to just 11 percent following implementation.
However, it also cannot be denied that the rise in people seeking healthcare due to better insurance has had an impact on the industry and created a range of pressures and challenges. The growth in the number of Americans visiting a healthcare professional has had a substantial and rather worrying effect in a number of different areas.
Naturally, there are concerns surrounding patient satisfaction due to longer wait times, about rising costs, and most notably about demand for medical personnel outstripping supply. However, there could be some good news on the horizon. Firstly, a change to current healthcare arrangements in the form of the American Healthcare Act is thought to bring some relief. Secondly, the rise in health technology and digital solutions could be instrumental in addressing the challenges of US healthcare.
Despite a somewhat slow uptake, health technology is on the rise. The hottest topic in health tech right now is undoubtedly the introduction of wearable, mobile devices with direct stats reporting as well as messaging capabilities. Blood pressure or heart rate, for example, can be monitored and recorded, with real-time delivery to Doctors or other healthcare professionals who may require the information.
This sort of technology has the potential to address the following concerns:
Technology could reasonably help to reduce costs associated with long-term illness, particularly elongated hospital stays, through accurate and consistent monitoring of a condition at home. Chronic conditions are understood to account for more than 85% of all healthcare costs in the United States.
Health technology opens up doors to better self-management and could make it possible for high-functioning patients to manage and treat their condition at home through a familiar medium: tech. This is especially true if we consider integrated apps, which could improve adherence with dose reminders.
Wearable technology has the potential to empower patients, giving them more control over their own healthcare choices. The simplicity of self-monitoring could work to reduce anxiety and apprehension relating to upcoming appointments and visits via knowledge sharing and greater education.
The impact on healthcare recruitment in the United States is perhaps more profound. Labor shortages are expected to continue, with one of the main reasons cited as increasing complexity of patient care. However, with improved self-monitoring which has the potential not only to minimize complexity but also reduce demand, skilled professionals may find it less challenging to enter the healthcare world.
Additionally, a reduction in healthcare costs could result in budget reconsiderations, allowing for more to be allocated towards the provision of experienced staff to fill gaps. In fact, it's estimated that digital healthcare could actually save the United States more than $300 billion, resulting in new budgets.
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