More Information = Better Healthcare

March 6, 2008

I attended a great conference last week (not only great because it was in Orlando while I am in cold Chicago)….but also because of the quality of speakers.  I was giving the talk on Healthcare and Technology, particularly how payers and providers can embrace the internet and leverage the power of new technology to grow their businesses and their practices.   For those of you interested in the conference….it already happened but here’s the link:  http://www.iirusa.com/dentalbenefits/eventhome/35951.xml

Okay, onto some fascinating data points shared by presenters that got my attention and should get yours:

1)  According to a study by IOM (Institute of Medicine), it takes an average of 17 years from the time when a new discovery/treatment that is proven effective (e.g. treating ulcers with medication) for that treatment to become widely practiced.

2)  According to a study by NCQA, 57,000 people die every year in America because physicians are not following clear trends from “evidence-based medicine.”  Said another way, this is the staggering cost of the 17 year delay game because it’s hard to spread information throughout our fragmented health care system.

3)  We all know about the challenge of rising Medicaid and Medicare costs.  We also know that we sometimes get better data from the government sponsored programs than we get from the fragmented insurance industry, so from both perspectives….think about this….The Institute of Medicine did a study in 2006 that found 50 cents of EVERY $1 dollar spent by Medicare was spent in the last 8 weeks of a patients life.

4)  Some other engaging Medicaid/Medicare facts:  these programs cover 65% of all nursing home residents in the United States (44% of all nursing home costs).  In 2005, Medicaid passed up Medicare in terms of the # of lives covered.  In an average month, there are 49 million Americans covered under Medicaid. 

Fascinating stuff.  Data can help us understand our costs better, help patients and providers make better choices, and even start a discussion about how we as a society spend our valuable healthcare dollars.

Stay warm everyone….the winter is almost over….

Thanks,

mark

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