A few months ago, we at the Financial Policy Council published an analysis of the U.S. healthcare industry, where we explained that the private healthcare sector must take the lead in digitizing the industry, and adopt blockchain technology to process and streamline data into solutions.
While opportunities in healthcare are and will be ubiquitous for a long time, these are some of the most pressing issues of today, which entrepreneurs must tackle:
- Twenty percent of all diagnosis by primary care physicians are incorrect. In the U.S. alone, more money is wasted on incorrect diagnosis and treatments, than the entire U.S. annual military budget. $700B+ annual costs applied to unnecessary, misguided treatments (compared with $583B US annual military budget). This incomprehensible waste does happen in a vacuum: the number one cause of personal bankruptcies in the US are due to medical costs.
- Out of the fortunate 80% of patients with correct diagnosis, 50% do not have a proper evidence-based recommendation for their follow-up care. This means they have no access to quality information to guide their decisions about the next steps in their treatments.They do not have the access (or capabilities) to consult with a database detailing the morbidity, mortality & readmission rates of all U.S. providers, and thus, cannot make an educated decision on the best choice for their personal diagnosis. They know they must see a specialist, but lack to proper tools to know which specialist has the most optimal results, accurate reviews, fastest patient intake, expertise of procedure/contraindications, variations of provider costs, billing accuracy, etc. They must depend on the primary care physician’s recommendations, which unfortunately, are often based on their provider financial incentives.Imagine you had to buy a car; you go to the dealer, and they tell you that you need a truck. The dealer recommends that you go across the street, and buy a Hummer for $50,000. You’re only choice is to buy the $50,000 Hummer from across the street. You cannot check the Bluebook prices for that car, you cannot check the reviews for that dealer, and you cannot find much information about the Hummer. That might be the first time you have ever heard of a Hummer. You just have to buy it, and hope you can afford it. Now imagine that next week, you meet with your friend, who also needed a truck and bought a Hummer just down street, for $20,000. There is no one to give you an explanation why you had to pay an extra $30,000. You’re broke and furious. That’s how the current healthcare system functions, which leads us to problem number three.
- There is no cost of service transparency. This is one of the most important facts. For example, no one know whether a CT scan should cost $300 or $3,000. The patient does not know who the best CT scan providers are, what offices offer the best quality, or where to go for best prices. They are scared and vulnerable. All they know is they might have a serious medical condition, and they must get tested as soon as possible; the vast majority of patients surrender to the recommendations of their physicians. In a perfect world, that should be the case. You should trust your physician with your well-being and life. Which leads us to problem number four.
- Medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., with heart disease and cancer leading the list. According to a John Hopkins study, each year 250,000 people die due to medical errors – 700 people per day. As if this wasn’t enough to deal with, each one of these tragic deaths cause costly externalities: victimization of nurses, doctors, social workers, managers, pharmacists involved in their care. Healthcare professionals responsible for these deaths go through depression, suicide ideation, depression, and burnout.
Data is the new gold for the healthcare industry. If entrepreneurs want to succeed, they must learn to manage/organize data and transmute it into solutions for their patients. New companies in the healthcare industry must employ these advanced technologies to offer the following solutions:
- Use Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence solutions to correct diagnosis rates – when primary care physicians misdiagnose 20% of their patients, and provide them with the inaccurate treatment diagnoses, the current system suffers from a human-performance issue. This can be drastically improved by employing data analytics and artificial intelligence which can process and compare large data volumes, faster and more accurately, thus improving treatment accuracy. Misdiagnosis is a major problem in the healthcare system in effect harming patients even before any treatment is had. These effects also have negative effects on mental health causing stress, anxiety and depression. Patients are spending money, and not getting better at all.
Employing such technologies could save up to $700B+ USD per year. Most importantly, it can prevent a lot of unnecessary deaths, and stressful situations for patients, families and the healthcare system as a whole.
- Use a knowledge based system to provide better care guidance through personalized support via care advocate – Knowledge-based systems have the capability to maintain and organize all your personal data in an efficient manner. They provide the patients with actionable, personalized intelligence, increasing the accuracy of their treatment plans.
- Use reference based pricing (RBP) to drive cost transparency – RBP systems have access to all pricing options available, and empowers patients to make educated decisions, saving them (and their employers) money. If you need a CT scan, RBP systems will allow you to knowingly consider all options, from the $300 to $3,000 price scale.
- Use quality metrics to identify the best providers (volume of procedures performed by year, readmission rate, morbidity/mortality rate, outliers, cost) – Just like you can compare prices and reviews for almost all products in the U.S. (be they cars, hotels, or phones, clothes, etc.), patients should have healthcare quality metrics available, to evaluate and decide where to seek treatment options, based on their personal requirements and preferences.
The healthcare industry is in a state of information overload, information underload, and information chaos. Fortunately, advances in technology, specifically data management, artificial intelligence and blockchain platforms, allow for superior performance in processing, keeping track, and delivering data in a format that is actionable.
Entrepreneurs must learn to innovate and employ these technologies to leverage all data available and provide solutions. They must increase diagnosis accuracy, create knowledge based systems and reference-based pricing systems, and offer quality metrics to patients. Such an entrepreneur is industry veteran Christopher Fey, whose company – Big Bang Health – built the Titan A.I. Data Engine to provide the next generation, proprietary IT solution that improves healthcare outcomes and reduces costs for employers and their employees.
The special power that makes visionaries, is not the ability to magically see the future, but the highly developed ability to understand the present reality in a most accurate manner. Entrepreneurs like Christopher Fey are needed in healthcare today more than ever, to quickly identify the pain points and deliver much needed solutions, to all involved in healthcare: providers, doctors, employers, and patients. Many lives, and much money, will be saved by the healthcare private sector.
- The Quality of Health Care Delivered to Adults in the United States
- Big Bang Health – Mission Control
- Strained Healthcare System Hurts Doctors and Affects Patient Care
- International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care
- Johns Hopkins study suggests medical errors are third-leading cause of death in U.S.