Technology changing health care in America
by Mary Scott Nabers,
CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Technology is revolutionizing health care. Of that, there is no doubt. The opportunities for technology firms with medical offerings are almost beyond comprehension for the average person. This is a whole new frontier.
Consider these reasons:
- The American Academy of Family Physicians predicts a shortage of at least 39,000 family physicians in the nation by 2020. The introduction of telehealth will help ease the negative consequences of the shortage by allowing doctors to see more patients and to practice online outside of normal business hours.
- A bill recently passed in the U.S. Senate provides guidelines for Regional Centers that treat children with autism spectrum disorders. Senate Bill 764 will improve access to the Regional Center services, facilitate the implementation of innovative and cost-effective technological services and require the Department of Developmental Services to establish appropriate reimbursement codes for telehealth services and programs. The objective is to increase cost-effectiveness and improve service delivery.
- A University of Tennessee study recently found that telemedicine increased doctor visits while decreasing the time between the initial referral and treatment periods, making the visits more timely and efficient.
- Populous rural communities across America have limited access to health care, as approximately only 9 percent of doctors serve in rural areas. Rural hospitals also have less access to specialized forms of health care including emergency medical services and pediatric medicine. The Indiana Rural Health Association has created a Telehealth Network to improve broadband in rural areas, improve network speeds and ultimately improve rural residents’ access to quality health care through technology.
- The National Institutes of Health is considering a public-private partnership to coordinate research on telehealth techniques and technologies. They hope to improve health in the United States through the acceleration of the science of telemedicine, the generation of information on the telemedicine regulatory and payment landscapes and the creation of infrastructure for supporting the education of stakeholders on the opportunities and challenges of telemedicine.
- The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Veteran Affairs have announced a joint effort to expand care to veterans in rural areas. With $983,100 in grants, the objective is to improve access to health care through the use of telehealth and telemedicine. The implementation of newer technology will reduce wasted time and allow for more efficient diagnoses.
The world we live in is changing rapidly and one of the greatest, strongest trends driving change is the emersion of technology into the health care arena.