Entrepreneurship Helps Move Healthcare Forward

Entrepreneurship Helps Move Healthcare Forward

According to a study published in JAMA, the U.S. spends more on healthcare than other high-income countries but gets fewer results. Americans have a lower life expectancy and higher obesity rates as well as higher infant and maternal mortality rates. Prescription drug prices are a main drag on the U.S. system, with prices almost double the average of other countries, $1,443 to $749. Even though the U.S spends more on healthcare than other countries (18 percent to 9 percent in Australia), only 90 percent of Americans have health insurance, yet 99 percent of Australians have it.

Entrepreneurs to the Rescue

It is no wonder entrepreneurs such as Harry Stylli, founder of genetic testing company Progenity and who has over 30 years of experience in healthcare research, see opportunity in a new healthcare paradigm that works to keep people healthy rather than make sick people well. The result is that traditional healthcare is becoming more business-oriented and tech savvy. Healthcare providers are discovering they must market their services rather than depend on the fee-for-service model that has been in use for decades. More and more, healthcare providers are being rewarded based on keeping patients healthy, rather than only making sick people well, which is changing the scope of treatment.

Growing Technological Trends

Wearable tech and fitness apps are becoming predominant. This trend is creating highly profitable products and services that fall not only under the domain of healthcare professionals, insurance companies, or treatment centers but also to private business. Entrepreneurs are using technology to expose and correct inefficiencies in healthcare and make new models on what works, for example, making critical data available immediately in acute care settings.

Decision-making tech tools are gaining bigger roles as well with wearable tech and websites allowing patients to access their own lab work. This increase in available data requires a systemic solution to support decision making. The advances in data and analytics will continue to provide invaluable insights into the healthcare industry. For example, freeing access to data allows smaller players to access critical information that might eventually lower prices on drugs and other therapies.

Easier access to data will allow physicians to have more data on their patients’ issues and risk factors. For example, Optum, a healthcare research company, provides doctors with data analytics to help them recognize at-risk patients and recommend preventative measures.

Blockchain technology is being looked at as a tool to help find inaccurate information and reduce wasteful spending, with at least one alliance among the major healthcare companies having already been formed. For example, if Blockchain is used to create provider directories, any change in the information of a doctor’s office would go out across the blockchain so that all members of the alliance would see it. If this effort is successful, it will be the tip of the iceberg in the use of blockchain and another giant leap for healthcare using technology.

Healthcare is changing rapidly and for good reason. For now, at least, it looks as if the trend is up.

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