05 Jul Where is Patient Accountability in Affordable Healthcare?
Guest post author: Monica Eliou, MGA, Managing Director, Healthcare Operations and Technology
The complexity of our healthcare system is not lost on anyone, regardless of geography, age, or socioeconomic status. For the most part, our healthcare system is structured, and resources are in place, to care for the ill. Technology such as EHRs, PACS systems, lab systems, etc., manage sick patients and enable quality and patient safety across the continuum of care. But why do we have to get ill before we seek care?
Although preventative care is considered one of the Essential Health Benefits in the Affordable Care Act, statistics show that as a society, we are not being accountable for our health. The National Vital Statistics System of the CDC found in 2016 that 28.9% of adults age 45–64 died of heart disease, liver disease and cirrhosis, and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Discounting genetic disposition, these are preventable diseases but our behaviors often lead us to illness.
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, designed to improve the health of Americans, the United States is not progressing in health improvement where personal accountability is required:
- Patients are not requesting weight reduction, nutrition, and physical activity counseling, even though this preventative care is covered by insurance
- Goals to reduce substance abuse may not be met by 2020, and with the risk of losing the currently available resources guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, substance abuse may become a greater threat
- Reduction in tobacco use in adults has been slower than desired and the use of smokeless tobacco has increased
Healthcare technology solutions are guided by unimaginable ingenuity. The advent of wearables healthcare technology has brought our society closer to real time information for better health management. Wearables are a fabulous solution, but they are no good stuck in a drawer.
No amount of healthcare policy will make us healthier. Personal accountability should be the first discussion to improving care and reducing cost. How we achieve success is a question of one’s own culture change, not technology. Healthcare technology has its place, but like all HIT projects, we must start with the processes, not the technology. The process of creating personal accountability is the key to achieving affordable care
Author: Monica Eliou, MGA, is the Managing Director, Healthcare Operations and Technology at Tolero Solutions. Monica has 25 years of experience in healthcare in areas of clinical, supply chain, technology and project management. She delivers trusted advisory services in a broad range of healthcare settings, including medium and large provider settings, community hospitals and academic medical centers.