Healthcare Hub: May 2018 Issue

May 22, 2018

 

For the latest in healthcare, join the Hub! We deliver industry highlights straight to your inbox, so you never feel out of the loop. Click here to sign up now! From how digital tools address patient noncompliance to why social services reduce healthcare spending, this is what's happening for May.

 

How the Digitization of Healthcare is Changing Patient Noncompliance

 

Emerging technologies like integrated delivery networks and electronic health systems are revolutionizing the healthcare industry. These digital tools have refined how the providers select, prescribe, and evaluate drug products, leading to better outcomes for patients.

 

Specifically, physicians can now see exactly how patients are using prescribed treatments. This data is crucial, especially since patient noncompliance is a leading challenge in the industry. In fact, a reported 75 percent of patients do not consistently take their prescribed medications as directed.

 

As GlaxoSmithKline’s global head of digital innovation Andrew Ploxzay, Ph.D., shares, “We could start to know whether or not someone is taking the prescribed medication and how that relates to their health status. The health care system at large has never had access to that data so that's a really interesting place for us."

 

What’s Causing the Burnout Epidemic?

 

Of course, there is a darker side to the digital movement too, as the correlation between “desktop medicine” and physician burnout becomes more apparent.

 

Doctors are increasingly having to deal with the operational burdens of medicine, such as managing EMRs, coordinating care across multiple providers and accommodating more patients.

 

Not only are these factors a recipe for burnout, they’re taking quality time away from the patients themselves, which is probably why over 80 percent of physicians who use EMRs dislike them. It’s no wonder why doctors are feeling fed up with the system. They want to spend time with their patients—not their patients’ records.

 

At a time when we need doctors more than ever, the industry has become so convoluted and demanding that it’s setting physicians up for failure. Until we have a solution, the burnout epidemic will continue to ravage health care.

 

Reducing Healthcare Spending with a Comprehensive Approach

 

A recent study conducted by WellCare Health Plans, Inc. and the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health found that providing social services is an effective strategy for reducing healthcare spending.

 

Researchers evaluated the effects of providing services to alleviate problems such as homelessness, transportation barriers and food insecurity among Medicaid and Medicare Advantage recipients.

 

For participants who felt their social needs were met, this approach yielded a 10% minimum reduction in healthcare spending that amounted to over $2,400 being saved per person per year. The study cited fewer primary care and ER visits as reasons for reduced expenses.

 

These findings illuminate the need for comprehensive patient care that assesses health in the socioeconomic context.

 

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