Guest Blogger, John Sharp, eHealth Blog
Bill Crounse, MD, of Microsoft spoke to the he Emerging Technologies and Healthcare Innovations Congress on his take of key trends. He sees four crises: "out of control costs, unaffordable insurance, consumer demand and healthcare worker demand." He then proposes 5 trends to watch:
- The end of health insurance as we know it - a.ka., health savings accounts
- Information everywhere – home monitoring, pervasive use of new devices
- Commoditization of healthcare services – retail medicine to concierge
- Dumbing-down the profession – labor shortages resulting in more low skill employees
- A flattening of the world of healthcare – information technology enabling global healthcare and medical tourism.
All of these trends open opportunities for ehealth. Specifically, future moves from employer-based insurance to HSAs will allow consumers to buy health services online and tie into the concept of a mobile healthcare consumer less locked in by regional providers. Home monitoring and the use of cell phones for healthcare are key ehealth applications of extending care beyond the hospital and clinic. Commoditization opens the door to healthcare deliver innovations which use the Internet in novel ways. Although the world will be flattened by the potential for global delivery, much of healthcare will remain local but enabled by a broad range of information technology yet to be conceived.
As Crounse has said, “The tipping point is happening. More and more clinicians are looking for technology.” The same could be said for consumers of ehealth services.