The call for a repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by President Trump has many questioning how the role of technology in healthcare will change, according to one expert.
“One thing that has not changed is the mandate coming from the market to making healthcare more ‘available’ to the consumer,” says AxisPoint Health CEO, Ron Geraty, MD. “Whether it be engagement or enablement or health improvement, digital health solutions should be a part of every healthcare company’s solution.”
President Trump recently said, “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” but Geraty says that he, and others who work in healthcare on a day-to-day basis, do understand the complexity.
Still, Geraty says, there is one aspect of healthcare that is simple to understand. “That is that every approach in today’s environment should be taking advantage of the shift from ‘analog’ to ‘digital’ interventions and communications,” he says.
According to Geraty, examples of this include extending the influence of an organizations to 24/7 at the time and place of a consumer’s choosing; shifting synchronous communication to asynchronous communication anytime, anywhere; improving access by using various telemedicine approaches and solutions; providing daily monitoring of an individual’s health status; simplifying explanations of follow-up care and payment; and using appointment reminders. “Whether it is communicating more effectively, simplifying the understanding of healthcare, or making healthcare more ‘available’ to the consumer, digital health is both an approach and a solution whose time is here. Digital health is an approach that has the opportunity to revolutionize and simplify healthcare,” he says.
Eugene Sayan, CEO and president of Softheon, agrees. “With growing expectations for targeted experiences through new and emerging sales channels, we can expect the health insurance industry to continue to undergo a digital transformation like what we observed in the banking, airline, and travel markets.”
With that, here are four ways Trump will shift digital healthcare:
1. Medicaid changes will expand the role of digital health solutions. “The off-loading of Medicaid and alternative payment models to state oversight will prompt state officials to examine ways to improve the efficiency of care,” says Paul Keckley, PhD, a provider of independent health research and policy analysis. “That will inevitably mean an expanded role for digital health solutions.
2. Digital health will gain momentum as Trump looks to lower costs. “While the fate of the ACA is still unclear, it is safe to assume that the Administration will look at ways to drive down healthcare costs for employers,” says Bill Wright, director, government affairs and senior policy counsel, Symantec. “If done right, digital healthcare solutions do just that: cut costs and improve patient care. Privacy is always a concern with digital healthcare, so data security will have to be an essential part of any effort.”
3. Tax reforms will encourage more risk taking by digital health investors. The administration’s policies toward private investors are likely to prompt increased investments in digital health opportunities, according to Keckley.
4. Providers will utilize digital health to create a competitive advantage. “The administration’s bend is toward a competitive market in which providers will compete based on value,” says Keckley. “A key element will be applications of digital health that improve the efficiency and reach of their population health programs.”