Thursday, April 30, 2009

Future of CDHP

I was having a discussion the other day about the future of consumer-directed (or driven) health plans (CDHP). We live in a world where managed care dominates the healthcare industry. Under this new administration, many things in the healthcare system will change. Some are talking about universal health coverage. Will that be like the VA (Veterans Affairs) system? Will be turn into Canada? No one seems to know the answers to these questions, but one thing is clear: we need to reduce healthcare costs and also improve disease management.

I personally believe that technology will help patients with disease self-management. If we look at some of the conditions that burden the healthcare system, they would include things such as: diabetes, heart disease, heart failure, COPD, asthma, and many others. Patients who have any of these conditions must be very active in caring for their conditions. They must adhere to their medication regimen. They must follow-up appropriately with their healthcare providers. The use of modern technology is improving the care of some of these conditions. Glucose monitors and insulin pumps are becoming more sophisticated. Cardiac devices are saving lives at home. Home monitoring devices are improving care for millions of patients. Patients are receiving education through the Internet (although they're also getting misinformation).

Well, I've obviously gone on a tangent, but I will return to this topic of CDHP in a later post.

1 comment:

  1. Illnesses have changed from what we called acute problems to today’s complex chronic diseases that tend to last a lifetime such as diabetes and heart failure. These have become common because the population is aging [old parts wear out] and because of our adverse health behaviors such as smoking, obesity, poor nutrition and lack of exercise. So we truly do need prevention. But we also need efforts – now – to bring down the costs of care for these diseases which consume over 70% of health care expenditures. One of the biggest problems is that care of these chronic diseases is not coordinated well among the myriad doctors and others involved. Good care coordination would bring down the costs substantially and deliver much better quality and much safer care. Technology costs are often blamed for the high cost of health care but as you suggest, technology can actually assist in bringing down the cost of care if used appropriately. Not only the devices you mention, but using technology to improve care coordination so that patients do not have excess doctor visits, excess procedures and unnecessary hospitalizations. The result would be better quality, safer care, and more pleased patients [and doctors] while reducing costs.