Can Innovation Improve Healthcare and Reduce Costs?

by Rakesh Shetty, Vice President, Product Marketing, SAP

United States national health spending is estimated to have reached $3.6 trillion in 2018 and is projected to reach nearly $6 trillion by 2027 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services.

This begs the question: How can we deliver world class health services while lowering the cost of care per patient?

Strains on Care Providers

I have seen the immense time pressure on primary care physicians who increasingly work for corporations during my annual checkups. Physicians often struggle to balance the conflicting demands of providing the time to the individual to understand their concerns and meeting the revenue goals set by their management. The primary care provider has a difficult time getting a single aggregated view of the patient because the data is often spread across multiple care providers.

The challenge of managing administrative tasks including mitigating the risks of malpractice lawsuits is very time consuming. It requires a truly passionate physician and support team to ensure the care provider always keeps the best interests of the patient in mind. Despite the challenges, I am always impressed by how well the system functions and serves patients.

Empowering Patients and Care Providers

According to the PWC report on Top health industry issues of 2019, pharmaceutical and medical device companies will offer new digital therapies and connected services to help patients change behavior. These services will give providers real-time insights on patients and give employers and insurers improved tools to better manage employee health. Along the same lines, in rural America, CMS is advancing telehealth and telemedicine plans to make healthcare accessible and affordable.

In my view, the first step is for each person to take charge of their own health. We owe it to ourselves to invest the time to take care of our physical and mental well-being. This includes staying in touch with the primary physician and completing the recommended physical examinations and associated follow ups. This will ensure any health problems are detected and managed before they escalate into emergencies.

Primary care physicians and specialists need to have the latitude, with the appropriate supervision, to perform at their best without the constant fear of malpractice lawsuits. They need to have incentives in place to provide guidance to patients to improve their health and live better lives.

Role of Innovative Solutions

Companies play an important role in enabling their employees to live better lives. Many leading organizations offer physical and mental well-being programs to their employees. For example, SAP offers its employees a program with Kurbo to enable employees to understand their food choices with a mobile App. The Kurbo program provides participants the guidance to make informed choices and move to healthier diets. This is a win-win for all sides.

At SAP, we are partnering with leading life sciences and health care companies to deliver innovative solutions that can lead to better outcomes and help lower costs. Roche Diabetes Care worked with SAP to deliver Accu-Check view, an interactive sharing App for patients to share information with healthcare providers. The information from glucose meters, scales, blood pressure monitors, and fitness trackers is delivered in real time to providers. As a result, the care provider can deliver tailored advice and prevent the onset of long-term complications.

What other innovative healthcare solutions are you excited about? Let’s connect, I’d love to hear from you.

To learn more, visit SAP Life Sciences and SAP Healthcare.

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