Do you know which country has the highest life expectancy in the world? If you base your answer on healthcare spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), you’d think it’s the U.S. But, it’s not. Despite health expenditures of 17.9 percent of GDP, the U.S. ranks No. 31 in life expectancy, at 79.3 years. Japan -- which spends half as much as the U.S. -- ranks No. 1 in life expectancy, at 83.7 years. According to Deloitte’s 2019 Global Health Care Outlook report, Americans spent an average of $11,674 on healthcare in 2018, yet the U.S. maintains some of the poorest health outcomes worldwide. What’s more, national healthcare costs are expected to increase an average of 5.7 percent each year from 2020 to 2027. At this rate, healthcare spending should outpace the nation’s economy to reach $6 trillion or 19.4 percent of GDP by 2027. Several factors are driving this acceleration: our aging population, a decline in the working-age population, and those ever-rising healthcare costs.How can technology address these issues? Yesterday, the #TriangleTechSpeakerSeries featured a panel of healthcare and technology experts who discussed “Critical trends in healthcare technology…and their medical and financial impact on families.” The good news is that what seemed like science fiction only a decade ago is becoming a reality as technology enables a new framework for value-based healthcare.
Q: What are the most significant issues that healthcare technologies can address?
A: “We need technologies that can deliver better health outcomes for our citizens while also controlling costs,” said Gullapalli. According to several panelists, connected devices (aka the Internet of Medical Things or IoMT) are already paving the way to innovations in the value-based healthcare model, which leads to better outcomes and lower costs. “Connected devices such as wearables, mobile devices, and analytics enable patients and caregivers to become ‘empowered contributors’ when it comes to awareness and management of health and wellness,” said Furberg. Kodali noted these technologies improve the delivery of healthcare to the individual.
Q: Where are we in the journey toward value-based care?
A: Real transformation, noted Gullapalli, comes only when there’s collaboration among the Big Three in healthcare: patients, providers, and payers. For the value-based healthcare model to work, providers and payers need to better align around a shared risk model, suggested Dr. Mostafa. In terms of overall wellness, there’s a clear incentive for providers and payers to reduce the number of patient visits through remoting monitoring, fitness tracking, etc.
Q: What are the current trends in telehealth?
A: The opportunities for on-demand healthcare through mobile health are almost endless. According to Dr. Mostafa, a recent trend is in virtual visits, which eliminates latency in the healthcare system. Consumers can use their mobile devices for simple but intelligent triage. The patient and provider meet online, saving both from an in-person visit.
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