Modern technology has revolutionized countless industries over the last few decades including finance, retail, automobiles, and even Major League Baseball. The US healthcare industry has pushed back, protesting updates to most processes and systems. As major public healthcare companies chase yearly profit increases and rising stock prices, there clearly exists an extreme lack of incentive to heavily invest in technology. Smaller companies and consulting firms have filled the gaps to create specific solutions to issues plaguing healthcare, but the major healthcare players remain apathetic to institutionalizing state-of-the-art technology on a nationwide scale to save their customers time and money. That may finally be changing.
Consider the health insurance industry as a prime example. When setting up a doctor’s appointment, wouldn’t you like to know the cost to you, what specifically is covered under your insurance, and pay the bill immediately? Shouldn’t information on prescriptions, drug coverage, prices with insurance, and out-of-pocket prices be available instantaneously to your doctor so that you both may collaborate on the best treatment plan? Why is it that we can be balance-billed by insurance companies weeks after an appointment? If we can create autonomous driving cars, shouldn’t we have created a system for important clinical and insurance information to be easily accessed by healthcare providers and consumers?
As consumers of healthcare, we should expect more efficacy and understanding of pricing when acting upon clinical decisions. The major private insurance companies have fought hard to limit transparency and remain opaque while paying 241% more on average than Medicare. Someone has to pay for this, and the astronomical costs are pushed to the patient. Humana just made a major announcement that could lead the way for legitimate change benefitting providers and patients.
Earlier this month, Humana revealed a real-time benefit check system that will be integrated into Epic Electronic Health Record Systems (EHRs). Epic gives physicians immediate access to medical history, but Epic has previously been notorious for roadblocking interaction and integrations. The new agreement with Humana will include treatment options, individual medication costs, and insurance coverages for each patient on Epic EHRs. Humana patients will be able to discuss treatment pricing options with their doctors, including alternatives and prior authorization information. Cost of care will decrease because physicians will be informed on treatment expenses and tailor recommendations to individual patients. According to a survey performed by CoverMyMeds in 2018, 50% of US healthcare patients do not fill a prescription because it is too expensive when they arrive at the pharmacy. Medical non-adherence has been estimated to cost $289 billion per year! Humana’s new system improves drug price knowledge at the time clinical decisions are made, thus improving patient costs and prescription adherence, and also long-term care costs.
Humana is not the first company to attempt such an integration, but they are the largest to date (at the end of 2018, Humana reported over 16.5 million insurance customers). It will take time to integrate the new systems and changes, but it is exciting to see Humana leading the charge for major health insurance companies adoption of new technology.
Health insurance is just one aspect influencing pricing and quality of a patient’s care continuum. Many other areas of healthcare need technological boosts as well. Our goal at Relatable Healthcare is to influence transparency, knowledge, and clinical outcomes in the medical device space. Much like the Humana and Epic partnership brings real-time awareness of insurance pricing to physicians, Relatable Healthcare provides up-to-date medical device pricing, information, techniques, and alternative options to surgeons. Relatable’s software platform gives surgeons the information they need to decrease surgery costs, evaluate their own performance compared to peers, and provide the most clinically comparable cost-effective implantable devices.
The healthcare industry definitely lags behind others in terms of technological advancement and utilization, but change is on the horizon. Advancements will begin tracking all aspects of health, providing timely and correct recommendations for physicians and patients, lowering costs of care and time spent in healthcare facilities while maximizing medical adherence. As these changes become reality and many more health systems integrate to share data, Relatable Healthcare can be the knowledgebase surgeons, facilities, and purchasing groups rely on for effective and efficient medical device information and recommendations.
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Relatable Healthcare’s goal is to bring transparency to medical device purchasing and usage through a proprietary software platform providing actionable business intelligence. Our software assists with data standardization, analytics, and insight cultivation to drive the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost in every healthcare facility. Relatable arms providers with answers to the questions patients have a right to know; is there an alternative device in use? How long has the device been on the market? What was the approval pathway? And much more.
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