As said in our previous post, a result of its huge cost, the U.S. Healthcare ecosystem is seeking solutions that will:
(i) Increase Access to Care,
(ii) decrease the cost of care and
(iii) improve outcomes.
In this post, we are going to focus on access to care.
The goal of Increasing Access to Care is to enable the U.S. care delivery industry to serve more patients. This can be achieved with technologies that augment the capacity to handle more patients by optimizing workflows and reducing defects. The transformation of the current Pathology workflows using digital pathology imaging and digital exchange workflows is a good example, currently in full expansion.
But Access also means Proximity and Affordability. These two dimensions are easy to understand from the patient’s perspective:
The Proximity criteria relates to the time it takes to reach the relevant care-giver. The Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare generates visual maps showing the amount of hospitals available to patients within comparable driving distances. This helps understand the variability between U.S. regions.
Affordability relates to the patient’s capability to purchase healthcare services. Affordability is extremely variable across the U.S., depending on the patient employment status, age, and insurance coverage, just to mention a few. Affordability of healthcare services is at the nexus of the Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010. Despite the repeated attempts of the new government to kill the Affordable Care Act, 8.3 millions american signed up or renewed ACA health plans in 2020. As of March 2020, Eleven states and the District of Columbia have even opened enrollment to allow laid-off workers to get subsidized health insurance.