There wasn’t just one cause of the 2008 Great Recession, but certainly a major factor was the creative lending instruments banks used to qualify prospective home buyers. As is now well known, massive mortgage defaults among those homeowners undermined the integrity of mortgage-backed securities and came within a hair’s breadth of tanking both the American and global economies.
Choice can be a double-edged sword—we all want more of it, but with too many choices paralysis can set in. Choosing a physician or hospital, for example, in an urban or suburban area without some kind of recommendation can truly be a daunting task.
But it beats having few or no choices. Increasingly, that’s the situation rural Americans find themselves in as the number of hospitals decreases and specialists stay in the cities.
With January barely behind us and new occupants in the White House, perhaps it’s a good time to set aside what might change for a moment and focus on what must. Interoperability is a more urgent concern in 2017 due to goals established last year by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONCHIT) and the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which legally requires healthcare IT interoperability by the end of the current calendar year.
When people in healthcare use the phrase ‘patient engagement,’ they mean involving patients more in their own care, perhaps urging them to be more responsible for their own health.
It’s worth remembering that 2016 was dubbed the “year of data security” after 90 percent of healthcare providers suffered data breaches in the previous two years. In particular, the Anthem breach of late 2014/early 2015 got everyone’s attention for the sheer magnitude (around 80 million records) of the hack.
As 2017 begins, around 81 percent of Americans live in urban areas, up from 79 percent in 2000. At the same time, urban and suburban areas where vacant land exists (so, not you, San Francisco) have been expanding, redefining what used to be rural. With this demographic shift comes a transition of resources and tax bases that leave rural areas and rural services, including healthcare, struggling to survive.
Comorbidity is not a word heard every day—not even in healthcare, where it applies. But researchers and physicians, assisted by IT-derived diagnostic data, have come to understand that comorbidity is essential to understanding and managing population health, especially among vulnerable populations challenged by mental illness and addiction.
On Tuesday, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, codifying a broad and far-reaching effort to achieve medical breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s and other debilitating afflictions through improved, streamlined, well-funded research.