By Leroy Jones, Jr.
It is truly disheartening that healthcare reform remains stagnant in America. Inefficiencies in programs and processes throughout the healthcare ecosystem plague every citizen in our country, especially people living in rural areas that don’t have access to healthcare or might not be able to afford it. Reform is essential, especially as the cost and quality of healthcare continues to spiral out of control for all Americans.
Healthcare reform must take into account every person in the country – not just those living in large metropolitan areas or select groups – anyone and everyone who walks into a doctor’s office or hospital, whether it’s in New York City or Maza, N.D.
Understandably, providing medical services in disparate cities have their own challenges, including the lack of available broadband connections. Technical solutions introduced by companies in the private sector that use these high-speed wired and/or wireless connections can enhance the quality of care as well as control the costs for health services regardless of where the patient resides or what care is required.
The old adage, “out with the old and in with the new,” has never been more appropriate than in the case of healthcare reform. The traditional systems and services that served us in the past are obsolete. They must be replaced with technologies that cost-effectively enhance the quality of healthcare regardless of who needs it, where it is needed, and who is providing it.
For example, one component of the proposed healthcare reform provides incentives to use new medical devices and technologies. That said, payors, a.k.a. insurance companies, are not embracing these, and will not reimburse those using the technology, so it sits on a shelf waiting for the old to catch up with the new.
Telemedicine and mobile healthcare (mHealth) applications and solutions have been around for several years, offering healthcare providers alternatives for treating patients, especially in rural areas. The ability for doctors to remotely and securely share patient information – X-rays, prescriptions, or monitoring cardiac data – from a laptop or even a mobile phone, can actually make diagnosing and treating patients simpler and more affordable. Overseas, in Kenya and Zambia, countries not known for being technologically advanced, healthcare solutions using mobile phones improve the availability and timeliness of healthcare data involving preventative programs and immunizations against malaria.
Throughout the year, technology and healthcare companies showcase advanced medical solutions at various industry events – what’s available today and in the near future. Pundits from these industries focus on offering simple solutions, programs and processes using the latest innovations in medicine and technology to move healthcare into the 21st century.
Changes in technology and medicine occur on a daily basis and it’s tough to keep up with everything going on – especially if you’re located in a rural area. Misinformation is worse than no information and understanding how these changes actually impact Ma and Pa America is essential.
As someone who grew up in North Carolina, I know that well. Throughout my personal and professional life, I made it a point to educate myself on anything that affected my family, especially, their health. And in the area of healthcare, ignorance is certainly not bliss! Education is required.
We depend on government, private companies, and the healthcare industry to do what is right for everyone. And we need to reform the healthcare system quickly – it can make a difference between life and death.
The hearts, minds and health of America are in the hands of those responsible for shaping our country’s healthcare system. Let’s not be like the shoemaker’s children – use all the resources available to ensure the system that is put in place works for everyone regardless of where they live, their financial status or their ethnicity. One nation and one healthcare system for all.
Leroy Jones, Jr. is the creator of Talking Technology with Leroy Jones, Jr.
The blog covers innovative services impacting the health care industry from a “real life” perspective.www.technicaljones.com Twitter:@technicaljones