The health tech revolution, it’s a big thing. The question is how can technology make healthcare more accountable? I think that’s one of the biggest questions in healthcare, and there are all sorts of different answers to that.
I think one of the things that’s really important is bringing data into medicine. The data we have in medicine is incredibly poor. The technology to improve our data understanding, and that leads to better outcomes, I think is critical.
Another area is the area of drugs. There are lots of drugs that have been developed for diseases like Huntington’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease—diseases where there isn’t a cure and there isn’t a real treatment—that are being held back because we don’t have a good understanding of the biology of those diseases. Bringing in big data into the drug development process could dramatically speed up drug development for those types of diseases that don’t have treatments right now.
Another area is how you can use technology to deliver better healthcare through new methods. We’ve seen lots of companies in the last few years that are trying to bring telemedicine into people’s homes, rather than making them go to a doctor’s office or hospital every time they need care. We see things like Google Glasses being developed that
One of the most important ways to make healthcare more accountable is to use technology. Technology can make healthcare more accountable in a number of ways.
One way is by providing patients with ability to be more informed about their health. Patients who are informed about their health generally lead healthier lives. One example of this is a woman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the 1990s. She used the Internet to research her illness and found a doctor who used a new treatment that stopped her disease from progressing for over 20 years, despite the fact that the average life expectancy for someone diagnosed with MS was 10 years.
Another way that technology can make healthcare more accountable is by making it easier to track information. For example, medical records are now being digitized so they can be tracked more easily. This makes it easier to see if something goes wrong in a patient’s treatment and take steps to prevent it from happening again.
The need to make healthcare more accountable is becoming more urgent. In India, the current prime minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that one of his top priorities is to transform healthcare.
Can technology play a role in making healthcare more accountable?
In this article, I am going to present how developing countries can use technology to make healthcare more accountable. I will draw insights from the World Bank’s Health Systems Accountability and Performance (HAP) framework.
I will also share how using data—particularly from mobile phones—can help healthcare workers provide better health services to patients and increase accountability.
It’s an exciting time for healthcare technology. We’ve seen a tremendous growth in the number of startups focused on helping providers and patients improve the quality of care. There’s the rise of the virtual health market, the adoption of remote monitoring devices, and an increase in hospital investments in telehealth services.
We’re now faced with a new set of problems. Making sure that this technology is useful and accurate is a huge challenge, as is making sure that it’s available to everyone who needs it.
This means that unless we figure out how to address these issues, we could be facing a “gold rush” where everyone wants to jump on the bandwagon and get their piece of the pie — and most of them aren’t going to make it.
The good news is that there are ways to make healthcare technology more accountable. Let’s look at three examples:
If you’re like me, you probably hate going to the doctor. Not only is it a hassle, it’s often expensive and time-consuming. I always feel like I’m being watched closely for signs of illness or disease.
This isn’t entirely the fault of doctors who, after all, have a lot of responsibility on their hands. But it does point to an issue in the healthcare industry that technology can help solve: accountability.
In healthcare, “accountability” means that there is someone who is responsible for the health of a patient and will be held responsible if anything goes wrong. This notion of accountability is in contrast to the more transactional approach of American medicine where patients pay doctors, who offer products and services. Given all the problems with the current system, it is not surprising that people are looking for alternatives.
The thinking is that if healthcare was more accountable, then it would be better at having patients meet their goals (e.g., losing weight, lowering blood pressure) and avoid unfortunate events (e.g., falls). The fundamental belief is that when people have a relationship with a doctor who cares about them, they will do better than if they just shop around based on convenience or price.
Some systems have tried to create accountability by paying doctors only when they reach certain outcomes. For example, instead of paying physicians directly for every visit or test, you put them on retainer to manage a patient’s chronic diseases for a flat fee per year.
The democratisation of healthcare is at the core of our mission. Achieving this vision means reducing the friction between patients and the care they need, whether it is for primary care or chronic disease management. In our last article, we discussed how technology can simplify the process of finding doctors and online consultation.
Since then, we have been inundated with questions from readers and patients about how to find reliable doctors online, what parameters to look for in a doctor’s profile, how to choose an online doctor, and so on.
The purpose of this article is to answer these questions and help patients make more informed choices about their health.