Technology and the Democratization of Healthcare

The state of the healthcare system in the U.S. has been a widely discussed issue for many years, and it seems to be at its pinnacle in contentious debate at this point in the nation’s history. Rapidly inflating costs and Americans’ desire to be more proactive in their healthcare are the impetus for a much-needed change of direction. Each passing day brings a new announcement or initiative that is propelling the industry toward change.

Most recently, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and J.P. Morgan Chase teamed up to reduce healthcare costs. Their joint plan will initially focus on utilizing technology to better serve their one million employees across the globe, but their efforts have the potential to make a tremendous impact on the industry as a whole. This strategy has turned the attention toward smaller digital health technology providers and away from the more traditional segments of the healthcare system.

It only took a few days after the announcement hit the news to see its effect on the market, costing the ten biggest healthcare players a combined $30 billion in market value. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, summed up the challenges ahead in an article for the New York Times, “Hard as it might be, reducing healthcare’s burden on the economy while improving outcomes for employees and their families would be worth the effort.”

Apple also released some big news in late January surrounding patient-centered care and patient empowerment. The tech giant announced the availability of Health Records, a new functionality that connects consumers to their health records at participating hospitals and delivers the information in the mobile health app.1 The goal of Health Records is to encourage patients to easily and securely interact with their health data via mobile device.

However, the ability to reshape the healthcare system isn’t limited to only the technology powerhouses of the world. Tech providers of all sizes have the power to make an impact in the industry. Since its creation in 2010, Clinical Studio, an enterprise system for electronic data capture (EDC), has been dedicated to improving data quality, reducing costs, and increasing EDC usage in clinical research.

Clinical Studio’s pricing is openly posted for direct, web-based purchase of the software and is available on a monthly subscription basis. Free evaluative and/or small pilot study subscriptions – plus training opportunities offered throughout the process at no additional cost – also empower research teams who wouldn’t otherwise spend ten times more on traditional EDC or clinical trial management tools. When research professionals no longer have to worry about staying under budget for their technology tools, they’re able to focus on honing their skills and streamlining their clinical research strategy and implementation.

The road to the democratization of healthcare in the U.S. will be heavily influenced by easy-to-use, highly capable technology tools, but the change will hinge on affordable pricing for all.

1 http://searchhealthit.techtarget.com/opinion/Apples-health-app-may-reshape-patient-engagement?utm_content=66784483&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter