The Changing Face of Care
There are sustained changes in the way in which healthcare is delivered, but those changes are bifurcated between the well insured and those who are not.
The well insured will continue to benefit from innovative models for healthcare delivery. Personalized medicine including at home care, concierge care, and telemedicine will enable the luckiest of patients to skip the waiting rooms, the lines, and the inconveniences.
Those less advantaged will also experience efficiencies and new models of care. Devices and monitoring systems that don’t require a high level of digital literacy and in many cases, even an internet connection, will continue to be deployed. Urgent care will continue to replace emergency and primary care.
If there was any silver lining to the pandemic, it’s an increased adoption of telehealth. As our day-to-day has shifted to more face-to-face interactions, the ubiquity of telehealth hasn’t waned. That’s good news for patients, providers, and healthcare technology innovators.
Out with the fee-for-service model, in with value-based care
The healthcare industry is ripe for a renaissance in payment models. A 2020 report by Deloitte Insights notes that 97% of physicians rely on fee-for-service which pays providers for each visit, procedure, or service regardless of impact on a patient’s health.
Codified in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act, value-based care rewards providers based on patient outcomes. Efficiency and effectiveness are something the healthcare industry and patients alike will benefit from, but this type of disruption requires novel technological solutions.
The emergence of cell and gene therapy into the healthcare toolbox present potentially life-changing treatments with a single course of therapy but with it comes at a hefty price tag that’s been the cause of consternation for both patients and providers.
The disjointed reimbursement models in the US healthcare system presents significant opportunity and is a topic we don’t see going away.
An Eye on the Aging Population
By 2040, about one in five Americans will be 65 or older. People are living longer and it’s putting a strain on the healthcare system. We should expect a shortage of healthcare professionals and a focus on comorbidity.
This creates opportunity for innovations around technologies that enable the population to age at home and it means that Medicare and Medicaid deliveries are ripe for innovation.
The federal government is invested – and investing in this trend with several programs coming online to source and scale the most promising solutions.
Equity in Clinical Trials
Clinical trials have historically underrepresented the population, producing inaccurate results with the potential to negatively impact patients. The Black population represents over 13% of the population, but just 1% of clinical trials.
There’s renewed interest in ensuring there’s equity while also understanding the social determinants of health that affect populations differently so that they are effectively addressed and understood during clinical trials.
First and foremost, however we must identify and eliminate barriers to enrollment of clinical trials will lead to better, more inclusive research. Addressing this gap has the potential to impact the cost of care. New medicines are expensive to get across the finish line due in part to a lack accurate data from clinical trials that’s reflective of the population. As a result, trials must be repeated over and over. If we can reduce that timeline and inefficacy, it could reduce the cost of these medicines.
Wanted: Data Scientists
Data is king in the healthcare industry, but without an ample workforce of tech informaticists and data scientists, it’s difficult to get a leg up. That’s where investment in not just STEM education but digital literacy is critical – and a significant opportunity for Philadelphia and beyond.
Increasingly we’re seeing collaboration between healthcare and tech companies – and how better technology begets better health outcomes.