Healthcare Cost Cutting Hinges On IT
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User Rank: Apprentice
8/15/2012 | 5:58:04 PM
re: Healthcare Cost Cutting Hinges On IT
While I respect the opinions reflected here, I find them of no particular value: unhelpful and naive. Reflected here is another example of the penchant of such to ascribe the solution of a multifaceted problem (which all but defies solution) to be facilitated primarily or entirely by a single factor. IT is often this factor, claimed here as elsewhere. Besides, who will remember this in 2037?

IT will not be the savior (in cost-savings or otherwise) of healthcare. IT has not done that for any other sector of the economy-ever: if that were truly the case, there would be no such business as "IT Outsourcing", which most companies do to (in their financial imaginations) save money. I have been part of several such efforts - the largest savings is caused by a change in the tax treatment, which does not in reality means it actually costs less to the using entity, just that it is offset in some artificial way. Regardless, IT contributes to overhead in some form or fashion, and the consumer still pays the cost of it.

Automation is a commodity and an enabling technology. Healthcare is an expensive business to be in, full stop. It is better informed and more refined than 50 years ago, but it is still largely inexact. And because it deals with the possession and quality of human life (seen as priceless), no (ultimate) limit will be placed on the efforts to retain and improve and lengthen it. This is not a feature inherent in healthcare: it is a fact of human nature which effects the cost of healthcare.

The way to control the cost of healthcare is to get smarter and better at running those parts of this human HCO that can be run more effiiciently; to do a better job of reducing fraud by streamlining the processes (not by more regulation - which facilitates fraud by creating loopholes and complexity).

I have been in IT 35 years. I have never seen it "save" anything. It is not messianic, it is not miraculous, it is not benevolent or malevolent. It is a tool and an enabler. It can only do as well as those who employ it apply it correctly to problems understood well enough to know how. Otherwise it fails, as a sledgehammer fails when used to open a locked door. It may get the job done, but at what price?

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