In recent weeks I’ve seen a number of news articles that highlight some of the tectonic shifts taking place in healthcare. For instance, this piece – written by David Ignatius of the Washington Post – underscores the notion that regardless of what happens to “Obamacare,” cost pressures will force healthcare providers to consolidate; deliver care that is based on evidence rather than the desire to boost profits through more tests; and rely on electronic health records to streamline care and avoid duplication.
As a Seattle and Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm with a big slate of healthcare clients, here at RH Strategic we’re watching this revolution first-hand. One client, Clarity Health Services, is developing an easy-to-use way for physicians to join into provider communities, more effectively sharing patient information and doing a better job of tracking patients as they move through a healthcare network.
Another, Benchmarket Medical, is harnessing the power of data to make hospitals more efficient and give practitioners real insight into how to improve patient outcomes while managing costs.
A third, Edifecs, is helping healthcare enterprises automate core business processes.
What all of these clients have in common is their use of today’s technology to make healthcare providers and organizations more nimble and responsive. This is the key to improving healthcare without soaring costs – using healthcare data and networks to make sure care is appropriate and delivered at the right time. One study, for instance, reports that duplicate medical tests were conducted in an astounding 32 percent of the patients surveyed. That poses a huge financial burden on the healthcare system, yet in most cases could be avoided simply through more complete use of electronic medical records.
We’re a long ways from a perfect healthcare world. But one step at a time, we’re getting there. In my job at RH Strategic, I work to connect healthcare entities with the right technology – improving both the business and clinical side of healthcare. By doing so, I like to think we’re doing at least a little to create better healthcare for everyone. Because better healthcare is in everyone’s best interest.