Healthcare Technology Transformation Over Disruption In
the ACO PCMH Models by Jim Bloedau
By Jim Bloedau of Information Advantage Group
December 28, 2013
With 47 million new users to be added, the US health system
just had a big new bureaucracy placed on top of it and that
costs money. A couple of things are clear:
Above all else, cost pressures will rule – the amount of money available
for healthcare will be spread much thinner.
For those people who will experience higher co-pays under the ACA
than what they are used to, this will make the patient think twice about
whether a certain procedure is really needed.
With margins continuing to be squeezed because of this
continued thinning of reimbursement and utilization, and the
need to cover more ground with fewer steps and less cost,
what products will create the best market demand?
Firstly, you can’t have innovation before the infrastructure is ready to support it. Products that address
workflows that are already happening but take steps out of the process are tops on my list. As an
example, consider why healthcare is the only industry that strongly supports pagers anymore – it’s a
convoluted way of getting things done. Eliminating pagers with a more open form of communication that
let’s providers see the conversation that is taking place about a patient’s care by the staff will save steps.
If we can do this in a way that securely crosses the provider to consumer continuum, then we’ve sped
things along by eliminating some steps.
Secondly, products that push responsibilities for care upstream also take steps out of the process. We’ve
seen a lot of consumer healthcare products with emphasis on early detection as well as preventive lifestyles education over the last couple of years - most have not gained sufficient traction despite elegant
and clearly beneficial outcomes. Just as we saw the abolition of stenographers who would type letters for
“Mad Men” era executives by putting word processors on every desktop, we’ll see more of this in
healthcare. Physicians will delegate more to their assistants and nurses so they can work where there’s
more money - at the top of their license. This will cascade down to where today’s patient will be
tomorrow’s PCP (Primary Care Person) and products that compress this process by providing the
infrastructure to eliminate steps will be the winners. Home, mobile, remote care and triage products that
help the patient decide when to seek medical help and from who will again be the winners.
These are transformative innovations rather than disruptive and have always had a high degree of
success. If new technology does not have an economic benefit as well as patient, physician, staff or
procedural benefit it will have a very strong barrier to entry let alone clear value analysis committees.
Those who are trying to introduce a completely new method will face uphill battles.