Why health IT spending must switch tactics

Healthcare IT spending by both providers and payers needs to move away from massive systems to the more agile, entrepreneurial approach used by the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung, according to an article at CIO.

The emphasis so far on IT infrastructure and electronic health records has provided little value and left little room for innovation, asserts senior editor Brian Eastwood.

People wonder why they can book a vacation on their smartphones, but it takes a 15-minute call to book an appointment with their doctor, he points out. The needed approach moves away from massive on-premise systems and calls for trusting the cloud, embracing agility, pilot projects and, above all, a willingness to fail.

Though he calls healthcare's refusal to accept failure "deep-seated and sensible," at the same time it limits innovation.

Texas Health Resources is dabbling in initiatives such as an expanded health information exchange and the use of patient-generated data, while the innovation efforts of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital include population health management and the creation of high-tech, "intensive medical homes," Eastwood says.

Innovation may require new business models and approaches from providers and payers, and with a focus on wellness, organizational roles may be disrupted as well, according to Eastwood.

Systemic change will be required and technology will revolutionize healthcare only if the industry values effectiveness over billing, futurist Joe Flower wrote recently at Hospitals & Health Networks Daily.

In addition, a recent Rand Corp. report urged the federal government to focus on the value in technology to speed access to medical devices while ensuring that the benefits of costlier advances justify their expense.

And healthcare affordability solutions for consumers must go beyond cost-cutting or re-engineering, to harness the innovation of entrepreneurial companies, author and futurist Ian Morrison wrote in an opinion piece in Hospitals & Health Networks Daily, calling for a massive overhaul of the care delivery system.

To learn more:
- read the article