We all know what’s wrong with the American healthcare system: just about everything. Now that at least some reform has been signed into law, it’s time to figure out how technology can help to make healthcare cheaper and more efficient. Talk about a growth industry!
At Network World, columnist Linda Musthaler points out that healthcare spending represents 17.6 percent of this nation’s gross domestic product, and the cost could double to $4.3 trillion from 2007 to 2017. What’s to be done?
Healthcare industry experts estimate that fraud, waste and other forms of payment abuse account for excess expenditures between $200 billion and $600 billion annually. Another 15% to 20% of total expenditures on U.S. healthcare are attributed to the administrative processes of a highly inefficient payment system that lacks automation. As many as 60% of the payment transactions are still processed manually. Our federal and state governments would have little problem paying for the new healthcare law if the industry could find ways to recover a significant portion of the funds tied up in these two troublesome areas. Fortunately, a number of companies are looking at innovative ways to apply IT to fight abuse and reduce administrative costs.
Musthaler goes on to describe how some of the leading data analysis companies, including FICO, the people who calculate your credit score, are coming up with new ways to use data mining to root out fraud and waste. We wish them the best of luck! "Reducing waste in our healthcare system can be accomplished by applying IT systems and best practices that are available today," says Musthaler. So let’s get started.
– Don Willmott