USA Today: “Technology, prevention will move healthcare costs down”

Medication non-adherence is estimated to cost the U.S anywhere between $180 to $400billion dollars annually. Many in the industry view technology as the solution to increasing adherence in patients and cutting healthcare costs. USA Today recently wrote an article on the subject and how the Affordable Care Act could prevent unnecessary costs in the industry. These include penalties for patient readmission with preventative illnesses and the increased use of healthcare information technology in administrative processes.

“WASHINGTON — In 2014, expect a flurry of changes to continue to bend the health cost curve down, accelerated by the Affordable Care Act, experts say.

Even die-hard believers in the connection between the economy and how people spend on medical expenses are saying this may be the year that proves them wrong, as providers and insurers rush to make changes to keep profit margins high in light of changes in how they’re billed. They’ll be led by improved technology that helps them see how to improve quality; preventive programs that have proven they can save millions in long-term costs; and an acknowledgement that consumers hold the purse strings.

“There is a considerable level of consensus based on several recent studies about how to keep costs down,” said David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, whose report looking at recent research was released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. “I think there’s a lot of work to be done.”

His research highlighted several areas that have seen progress — both before the health law was enacted and because of the law — but that still have further to go:

• Moving from a fee-for-service payment system toward risk-sharing or team-health pay systems, such as in accountable care organizations.

• Improving information technology, better coordinating care for the most expensive patients and improving primary care services.

• Teaching consumers to choose care based on better quality and lower costs.

• Reducing administrative costs, such as by standardizing billing and claims forms.

Already, he said, costs have slowed, though it has been hard to determine how much of that has been because of the recession and how much was due to changes in how care is provided. But there does seem to be almost universal agreement that, with those four changes, costs will continue to slow — as they have in organizations that have already made those changes.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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