This article is the final part of a three-part blog series with Dr. Michael McCoy.
Dr. Michael McCoy has diverse experience as a practicing clinician, an EHR vendor executive, IDN executive, and the first Chief Health Information Officer for The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). He is currently Co-Chair of the Board of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) International, representing HIMSS.
What industry changes do you predict we’ll see in the next 5 to 10 years?
The continued shift to value-based care is going to be inevitable. The challenge is the cost of care as delivered today continues to go up and it’s not affordable. All the things that have been done in Congress over the last decade have been with bipartisan efforts, as it relates to EHRs and payment reform. This is the only country on the planet that doesn’t consider healthcare to be a right of its citizens. Nowhere else do you have bankruptcies because of medical bills. Anyone with any compassion and understanding recognizes that to do healthcare properly, we need to eliminate some of those concerns about medical bills.
Let’s say someone goes to the emergency room and racks up $10,000 bill but has no money. They’re not insured but they were provided care because it’s mandated by federal law (EMTALA). The hospital isn’t going to eat that cost. The hospital is going to get the money somehow, so it gets shifted onto the cost onto something else. Any uncompensated care that happens in the hospital gets passed onto either taxpayers or insurance companies. It’s not that we aren’t currently paying for that care; it’s simply hidden under other mechanisms.
We need to have a better way of insuring that care is provided in a more affordable way, particularly when you think about opportunities for local areas and the people you’re taking care of locally. You want patients in your area to come to you for healthcare, not sick care, because it’s much more costly to provide sick care. With all this as a backdrop, it’s important for healthcare systems to think about how they can do outreach to keep people healthy. How can you make sure diabetics are taking their medicine? Even more importantly, how can you prevent people from becoming diabetic in the first place? Spending money to prevent diabetes can be much more cost-effective than treating all the potential issues that arise when someone is diabetic. There are many outreach programs in community hospitals that are trying to make sure that the population that’s being served has the resources provided to them to improve their care and outcomes.
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