December 18th, 2012
Posted by Caroline Popper, M.D., M.P.H.
As I watch the power in healthcare shift away from physicians/providers toward consumers/patients (enabled by the wide access to information and driven in part by higher co-pays), I can’t help but to observe the affects of the Affordable Care Act on both this new power and the bedrock concept of healthcare delivery—“standards of care”.
Rob Lamberts, a physician who switched his practice from fee-for-service to “direct care” (in which patients buy in as a member instead of paying for each procedure and visit, and receive a basic set of services), has compared the changes in healthcare delivery to the upheaval caused by digital cameras. Just as the move from film to digital imagery brought photography closer to the consumer, mobile apps and web-accessible information will move healthcare delivery closer to customers (a.k.a., patients). Film companies like Kodak failed to recognize the disruptive innovations wrought by digital photography; could consumer power provide the same disruptive innovation to healthcare? As healthcare industry expenses approach 18% of GDP, the unsustainable weight of healthcare costs practically beg for such a disruption.
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