Mark Buffington Shares Healthcare Industry Insights in Health IT Outcomes

In a new Health IT Outcomes piece entitled “Collaboration, Coordination, And Data Can Solve Many Healthcare Challenges”, BIP Capital CEO shared the following insights for the healthcare industry:

There is one thing about American healthcare on which most of us agree: It needs work. Stories from friends about an outrageously priced prescription drug or a hometown hospital closing its doors put a face on the facts: U.S. per capita healthcare spending is almost twice the average of other wealthy, developed countries, yet the United States performs poorly in common health metrics like life expectancy and unmanaged diabetes.1

I’m not the only American who watches with frustration as politicians discuss their views on overhauling our current system. If there is a clear bipartisan path to making American healthcare better and more affordable, no one has found it yet.

Still, as an investor in healthcare technology companies, I’m more hopeful than ever that real improvements can be made in our healthcare system. Improvements that rely more on communication, collaboration, and coordination between various segments of the healthcare industry than on one silver bullet that will automatically make everything better.

Data’s Potential To Solve Healthcare Challenges

What is the source of my hope? It’s my job to watch the industry closely, and I’ve seen a remarkable trend emerging lately: Both the public and the private sectors have discovered the potential of data to solve healthcare challenges. Data silos that already exist today can be connected with new technology to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. From our perspective, making these connections is “low-hanging fruit” that can go a long way in saving money and improving outcomes—if we put our minds to it.

The low-hanging fruit includes such things as political action to require Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) to accommodate easy, standardized transferability of healthcare data. Currently, EMRs “hold hostage” enormously valuable data that should be allowed to move safely—and fluidly—to multiple providers of choice for true interoperability.

This low-hanging fruit also includes clear public benchmarking of all providers in the areas of cost and quality. One of the metrics we have been studying for the past few years is the Total Cost of Care (TCOC) through the care continuum for various diseases. There is no justifiable reason that the TCOC for similar cases of heart disease, diabetes, or even physical therapy should vary by as much as 250 percent—but it does. We would never buy a car of the same make and model from a dealer who is offering that car for 2.5x the cost of another dealer down the street, but that is exactly what is happening in healthcare.

A recent study in Georgia uncovered one prime example of the problem. Here’s the story…

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