Our CEO, Dan Hogan is sharing his healthcare technology perspectives during two panel discussions at Disruptivate Healthcare 2015. Both panels consider technology's role in healthcare's new age. Although you may not be attending this year's conference, we'll let you in on the points Dan's bringing to the discussion.
Is the apocalypse inevitable, or can innovative technology help our healthcare system cheat its own death?
The majority of our increased life expectancies over the past few hundred years is overwhelmingly attributable to decreasing mortality rates of children under five years old. On the other hand, we have spent the last several decades increasing life expectancies even more through prolonging the lives of the elderly. Now throw in the reality that baby boomers are currently hitting the age of 65 at a rate of roughly 10,000 individuals per day—a trend that will continue for roughly the next 15 years. The challenges of caring for the largest elderly population in our nation's history are many, and while our society attempts to address them, our economy's future remains uncertain. How will our healthcare system adapt to the changing needs of a changing patient demography? How will we keep this growing elderly population healthy and self-sufficient? How will we address the rising cost of healthcare at a time when we will undoubtedly consume it at the highest rates ever? Does the development of wearable technology, big data analytics, and more efficient communication and care delivery hold any answers to these major challenges?
Q: Whats so powerful about big data? Why are so many looking toward analytics as a solution to the healthcare apocalypse?
A: Big data is a buzzword for a reason. It's a big deal. There is enormous potential to improve healthcare at record rates by analyzing the valuable data encapsulated in patient records. There are so many risk indicators hidden inside that paperwork, and up until recently, we weren't even trying to analyze it. I like to think of analytics as the fourth dimension of decision making. Here's the analogy: It’s the fourth leg on the barstool of decision-making. So, traditionally you make decisions based on three dimensions: 1.) Education 2.) Experience 3.) Instinct. Envision those decision-making dimensions as three legs on a barstool. The barstool will work—but it’s not as sturdy as a barstool with fourth legs. Analytics is that fourth leg or dimension that adds a new level of assurance to your decision-making process. Now that we're incorporating big data and analytics, we can make better decisions that drastically improve patient care while reducing costs.
Q: Why did it take us so long to get here? Why did we have to wait until near apocalypse?
A: The patient records aren't consistent. It take a lot to streamline that paperwork so we can have apples-to-apples data sets. Further, there are so many different players in healthcare--providers, payors, policymakers, etc. This makes the system a behemoth. It's difficult to motivate change in such a large clunky system. Healthcare reform has forced us to.
Q:What will keep us from reaching the apocalypse?
A: Learning what outcomes will result from specific care pathways, based on data. Also, involving lower acuity care in the care journey. Post acute can provide more preventative care so a patient doesn't have to go back to the hospital.
Celebrating problem-solvers, paradigm-shifters and disruptive innovators (Where is healthcare going right?)
Disruption in industry is often the result of fresh eyes looking at a problem that most people didn't even realize existed. Problems are many times overlooked until someone comes along and fixes them with a simple, elegant solution.
So much time is wasted focusing on the negatives in healthcare. It's in vogue to complain about the politics; it's trite to whine about unsustainable costs; and it's totally commonplace to point fingers and assign blame for the countless problems our healthcare system is facing. But there are a handful of innovators who have come up with creative solutions to some of our biggest problems and then dedicated their lives to executing them. While some of the most powerful institutions in the industry are standing idly by and enjoying the status quo, there are new players entering the game every day, and it's starting to make a difference. This panel will celebrate these problem-solvers, paradigm-shifters, and disruptive innovators.