It’s certainly no secret to anyone who follows the American healthcare system that healthcare costs around the country are spiraling out of control. This is already putting immense strain on the overall economy. But without a solution, it will eventually start eating deep into the quality of care that the country can provide as well as the long-term economic viability of the government itself. There is simply no way that the country can continue on its present course of ever-increasing healthcare costs that outpace inflation by huge margins.
Drew Madden is one of the healthcare industry’s foremost voices for reform. Having spent more than 20 years in the healthcare IT field, Madden has gotten a front-row seat to the period of greatest cost inflation in the history of U.S. medicine. His on-the-ground knowledge of how healthcare practices actually work and the types of inefficiencies that afflict them has given him a number of concrete ideas with regards to the improvement of the system as a whole.
In a recent interview, Madden mentioned a few of the most pressing concerns that have conspired both to drive costs through the roof while simultaneously reducing the overall quality of care and patient outcomes. One of the problems that Madden discusses is the low levels of interoperability between healthcare systems. This is best illustrated by the non-universality of electronic hospital records, but the problem extends to many areas of the U.S. healthcare system.
Madden says that in any country the size of the United States, it is absolutely imperative for the national healthcare system to have strict protocols that ensure the interoperability of healthcare networks. As an example, he says that someone from Minnesota who develops heart trouble in California may have to undergo a battery of tests that had already been completed back in the patient’s hometown. This is a huge unnecessary redundancy that can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Madden says that making healthcare records universally available and cross-compatible throughout all of the nation’s healthcare networks is the key means to combat this.
Madden says that while correcting the problem will be hard, the alternative is a broken healthcare system.