A report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers analyzes the future of healthcare, and what it means to finance and investing. Their analysts see growth and change in several sectors, and opportunity for innovative technology to transform the doctor/patient experience. While the report focuses on the role of healthcare leaders and businesses, the article states that the future of medicine will be focused on the individual patient, and individualized treatment, with an emphasis on “The Customization of Diagnosis, Care and Cure.”
While the healthcare industry has historically been focused on reactionary treatment of illnesses, the report sees a future where prevention, prediction, and early diagnosis are based on each individual’s background, genome, and behaviors.
They feel that this new, customized healthcare will be achieved with six primary vectors: Incentive-based payment, broad-based regulatory reform, funding, patient communication, electronic medical records (EMRs) and IT, and workforce.
On the issue of EMRs, the report says, “eighty-five percent of global health leaders said making EMRs available to clinicians would make their systems more efficient by reducing duplication; 71% said making them available to patients would make them more efficient via enhanced self-management.” An example given is the Veterans Health Administration (VA): “Patients carry out tasks such as measuring weight and heart rate with free devices given by the hospital and then input the data into their electronic folders, enabling more regular and more frequent monitoring and, theoretically better care. The benefits from this program, according to the VA, have been realized already — a 25% drop in hospital admissions and 20% shorter hospital stays.”
Additionally, they predict that a patient’s relationship with their health delivery will be shaped by five ‘touchpoints:’ Coordinated care teams, fluent navigators, patient experience benchmarks, medical proving grounds, and care-anywhere networks. The last touchpoint is especially significant. According to the report, “one third of consumers surveyed said they’d consider healthcare that’s delivered over the phone or Internet. Half of health leaders surveyed said they’re expanding access to care in patients’ homes, which are increasingly wired with networked devices.” They foresee a future where the patient can access and manage their healthcare universe in the same way they manage their entertainment media, their banking, and their shopping; online, with a computer or a mobile device, delivered to them instantly, anywhere. From remote monitoring, to home-testing, to online interactions with providers, the healthcare interaction will be increasingly delivered directly to the individual, to improve efficiency and effectiveness of care.
KwikMed has been at the forefront of online medicine, since 2003. We are the first and only company that is licensed to prescribe and fulfill a prescription based on an online interaction with a physician. Our entire operation is managed and recorded electronically. We look forward to the time when EMRs are ubiquitous and interoperable enough that we can share and interact with other healthcare providers.