Healthcare costs have been rising faster than inflation and even faster than college tuition. At the same time the quality of health care in the U.S. has been uneven at best. Many look to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an opportunity for information technology and other innovative approaches to improve both the efficiency and quality of health services.
What are the key elements of this transformation? What’s working? What are some significant barriers?
To explore for answers, Dan Beyers, founding editor of Capital Business, the Washington Post's weekly local business newspaper, recently moderated a series of conversations with experts from the University of Maryland and the health management consultancy firm Evolent Health, Inc.
The panelists are:
- Ritu Agarwal, founder and director of the Center for Health Information and Decision Systems and Professor and the Dean’s Chair of Information Systems at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business
- Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration, University of Maryland Public Health
- Shandy Guharoy (MBA ’13), vice president for information technology for Evolent Health
The final of three installments focuses on what’s ahead for the health care industry and its consumers.
Mortensen discusses the expansion of Medicaid: “The exchanges are beyond just purchasing private health insurance coverage for higher income populations, they’re also about Medicaid enrollment… About half the states have agreed to expand their Medicaid programs.” This means “people traditionally not eligible – like childless adults and individuals earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level – now are eligible for “expansion Medicaid.”
Agarwal discusses “personalized medicine” and how mobile technology is helping consumers become more proactive regarding their own health and wellness. “We can achieve a lot in terms of quality and cost-saving goals we have set for ourselves.”
Guharoy discusses how technology and data analytics stand to drive patient engagement and personalized medicine.