Information technology will close healthcare gap for poor and push other big changes, says Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams.
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Barriers to innovation in healthcare are finally coming down, said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdams in his 2013 International CES keynote presentation. McAdams foresees research growing, organizations connecting and gaps in under-served communities being filled thanks to the use of IT in the years ahead.
"Can you really use technology to motivate people to exercise? Eat their veggies? Take their meds?" Lowell asked. "…[W]hat makes this a transformational moment is the barriers to innovation in the industry are coming down," McAdams said. For example, Verizon now has a network that can handle bandwidth demand for sending MRIs and CAT scans over the Internet, he said. "We're working with [a company] to put a radiology platform in the cloud that takes two-dimensional images and enhances them. With 4D, we can see a heart beating, or track the growth of a tumor over time," said McAdams.
He outlined several initiatives the company has underway, including gaining FDA clearance for its mHealth platform that will give patients and physicians tools to manage chronic diseases. A HIPAA-secure platform, he said, "is a secure way for doctors and insurance companies to exchange information and share medical records in a mobile environment," while a Verizon big data platform is helping the government "root out" fraud within healthcare.
"In a report to Congress three weeks ago, HHS cited the fact that Verizon's system was up and running within 60 days," McAdams said. In the first year of running its big data platform, Verizon processed more than a billion claims and saved the government $3 for every $1 invested, he said. "In another case, we used our system to analyze 2.5 million claims in a single day and found more than 13,000 suspicious claims, representing more than $200 million in possible fraud," McAdams said.
Verizon also is working with the company HealthSpot, which launched at CES, to create virtual examining rooms. The rooms act as private kiosks that will be installed in big box stores or pharmacies and come equipped with telehealth platforms. "You can video conference with doctors, view medical records, and use tools that capture vitals, and do it all in real time," McAdams said.
McAdams said IT will close gaps in access to healthcare. "More than 50% of what government spends in diabetes and poor nutrition goes to under-served communities," he said. The Clinton Health Matters initiative, which launched in November, will help manage health in medically disadvantaged communities over the next three years, McAdams said.
The company's first project within the Clinton Health Matters initiative is in Coachella Valley, Calif., where 25% of adults and 70% of children are living in poverty. The company already has "people on the ground" in Coachella, McAdams said, to see how they can deploy solutions that address these disparities. "The objective is to turn these communities into working laboratories and creating healthcare solutions for the future," he said.
In closing, McAdams announced the Verizon Powerful Answers Awards for innovators and anticipates that this will drive social change. The company is looking to award $10 million total and a top award of $1 million to companies that develop innovative solutions in healthcare, education and more. "We'll also work with the winners to help bring their ideas to market and make sure we do the maximum amount of good," he said.
Clinical, patient engagement, and consumer apps promise to re-energize healthcare. Also in the new, all-digital Mobile Power issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: Comparative effectiveness research taps the IT toolbox to compare treatments to determine which ones are most effective. (Free registration required.)
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