Why are we not seeing the impact of new innovations in technology driving down the cost of healthcare delivery and improving patient outcomes?

English: US Healthcare Spending

English: US Healthcare Spending (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In all aspects of life we are seeing the tremendous impact of technology, and the price of that technology continues to decrease every year.

Why is it then that we are yet to see widespread impact of technology delivering better patient outcomes at a lower cost? I’m not talking about technologies as used in the operating theatre, or in diagnostics, we can discuss another time. But in how healthcare is delivered.

Remote patient monitoring, telemedicine, patient support via smart phones and contact centres have been around for many years, but we have only seen pilots and tests and are yet to see wide adoption of these approaches.

Or am I wrong?

What needs to happen for us to see these innovations become mainstream?

So let’s talk about telemedicine as an example.

It seems pretty clear that providing patients and healthcare consumers with access to healthcare, (support, information needs, direct contact with providers etc) without the need to the visit physicians office or attend hospitals, via smart phones or the web, providing access to key medical practitioners over the phone, and easier access to vital information seems to make sense. That it would be cheaper, quicker, and more convenient seems self-evident.

Yet telemedicine is not standard practice – not a standard tool used by health systems around the world. Why not?

I’ve seen great examples of pilots deployed to test the concept. Even some good examples that demonstrate significant benefits but still healthcare systems seem reluctant to fully engage with this approach.

What is it going to take to enable these technologies to become mainstream in a healthcare system near you?

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