Complex Technology and Its Threat to Healthcare

Inefficient and outdated technologies in healthcare have caused chaos in our healthcare system. The result is wasted time and money, which has led to costly mistakes and poor quality of care. In fact, U.S. spending on healthcare reached $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per person in 2020. However, despite all the money that goes into healthcare, the U.S. ranks last among its peers for overall performance according to the 2021 Commonwealth Fund’s Report. More specifically, the report calls out low U.S. rankings for administrative efficiency, equity, access to care, and healthcare outcomes.

One of the main reasons for poor performance is that the current fee-for-service business model not only accepts but also rewards inefficiencies. For every duplicate service, unnecessary test, or office visit, money is put into the system, but there is no improvement in healthcare quality. The lack of care coordination among providers can often lead to redundant care, resulting in an out-of-balance cost/quality equation.

With technology connecting Americans in so many different areas of our lives, the fact that healthcare information remains disparate and inefficient is difficult to understand. The status-quo approach to addressing technology challenges has been to layer more systems and vendors onto an already complex information technology system. Vendors build on top of an archaic system and cause additional frustration and disruption.

Here’s how:

1. Incomplete or Inaccurate Information – Healthcare Provider View

When complete patient data is inaccessible or unusable, providers are forced to make treatment decisions based on information currently available and can cause duplicate imaging and testing. Studies have shown that one in five hospital radiology tests are duplicates, wasting 20 billion dollars in health costs a year. When a physician’s office electronic medical record (EMR) system does not “talk” to the specialist or hospital’s EMR system, inefficiency and dysfunction prevails and increases the need for better care coordination and data sharing throughout the ecosystem. Moving from fee-for-service to value-based care puts the responsibility for care coordination with a single provider and drives better outcomes for patients.

2. Patient View

Numerous technology touchpoints often overwhelm and confuse patients. Online hospital records, primary care portals, and insurance plans can confuse patients and require a lot of learning to use effectively. Patient frustration and the need for additional support often result in decreased patient compliance of care plans resulting in medical complications and readmission. With a streamlined care coordination process, single point of contact, and single transaction, patient satisfaction, and quality increase.

3. Security is compromised

Providers and payers reported the largest number of data breaches in a year since regulators started tallying them in 2019. Sensitive patient data and complex technologies make healthcare a prime industry for cyber-attacks. There are many entry points for cybercriminals to attack technology platforms. Integrated technology with high-security standards requires IT experts to continuously monitor and evolve systems when sharing data and information among providers and patients.

The greatest challenge to fixing healthcare is the status quo approach. At Enlace Health™, we partner with our clients and empower better payment and value-based healthcare delivery models. Enlace™ focuses on the core, solving healthcare from the inside out, and connects all participants – payers, providers, and patients – in a quality-driven healthcare world. Learn more at https://www.enlacehealth.com.

References:

Historical National Health Expenditure Data – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

U.S. Health System Ranks Last Among 11 High-Income Countries

Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly – Health Care in the U.S. Compared to Other High-Income Countries

Data breaches reported so far this year have surpassed full-year 2020

Doing Away With Duplicate Testing Can Cut Healthcare Costs

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