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.
The April 2015 signing by President Obama of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) effectively changed the healthcare game for individual clinicians working in physician practices. The MACRA legislation repeals the existing Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) reimbursement formula and replaces it with a new Quality Payment Program (QPP) with two tracks: The Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) and the default Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). A new Medsphere resource takes a closer look at MIPS, which will subsume existing EHR incentive programs.
Healthcare industry market analysts, technology gurus and IT reporters sometimes like to envision a powerfully capable future in which software architectures are open, small application developers are thriving, and healthcare IT solutions from numerous sources create a confluence of patient data that will advance healthcare quality.
A survey organized by the California Health Care Foundation and Health 2.0 suggests we may be far from that ideal.
If community hospitals are a general barometer of health in the surrounding area, the emergency room is the canary in the coal mine. Viral outbreaks, increases in violence, loss of health insurance from local layoffs—all are social ills that make their presence known first in the ER.
Based on recent ER studies, the U.S. is on the cusp of a full-blown mental health crisis.
We will get to a point in the not-too-distant future where EHRs are a great deal more functional and user friendly, where APIs link most if not all healthcare IT platforms and clinical devices, where personal wearable technology enables remote monitoring of patient condition.
These are largely technical challenges with some policy mixed in that can be solved through improved technology and targeted incentives. In the meantime, as technology progresses, American healthcare faces some more intransigent challenges that technology can help with but will not solve.