According to a recent report commissioned by the National Institutes of Health, since 1980, the United States has been scoring progressively worse than 17 other comparable countries, in terms of the life expectancy of its citizens and the level and quality of health throughout their entire lives.
The report, conducted by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, compares health statistics in high income democracies in Western Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. In many cases, the U.S. ranks last.
More specifically, the U.S. fares the worst in multiple health areas including segments of behavioral health and drug-related mortality. Several possible reasons why the U.S. performs so poorly includes having the largest percentage of people who are uninsured or without access to care, a higher consumption of calories, and a higher rate of substance abuse.
One of the major challenges we face as a nation is the successful delivery of high-quality healthcare and improving overall clinical outcomes, while containing the rising expense of doing so. The concept of centralizing all pertinent medical information for every patient is an initial step in the right direction. The successful implementation of electronic medical records (EMR), health information exchanges (HIE), and patient portals have begun to provide valuable resources to the nation’s ability to provide quality, consistent healthcare.
However, even these developments are only a good beginning. They must be improved as they are often rigidly constructed in excessively compartmentalized ways, fraught with inefficiencies and documentation errors, and are cumbersome to use. Bad technology may be worse than none at all if it undermines effective communication between stakeholders.
One weakness of our nation’s healthcare delivery system is that we have the tendency to fragment treatment services (e.g., general medical care, mental health services) which arguably, results in disservice to the individual. When chronic disease management is placed in one silo, general medical care in another silo, a co-occurring disorder (e.g. behavioral health), in yet another silo, and comprehensive patient histories in multiple locations it is virtually impossible to provide best practice and cost-effective methodologies.
The next steps are two-fold and requires the successful implementation of both:
- The Triple Aim
MAP believes The Triple Aim will have a significant impact on population health management as providers, payers and patients strive for accessible and affordable high quality care. The Triple Aim is a framework that describes an approach to optimizing healthcare.
Components of The Triple Aim:
Healthcare Interoperability requires the ability to adhere to a standardization of protocols. Every healthcare provider in a patient’s holistic spectrum needs to have the ability to communicate, access data, records and histories of the patient. Imagine a scenario wherein an Internist can access a patient's’ entire healthcare records within seconds, crossing the barriers of general medicine and behavioral health.
Interoperable connectivity throughout our nation’s often contrasting healthcare systems involves transparent, effective communication regarding patients’ comprehensive treatment plans.
The MAP Recovery Network Platform offers the ability for providers to deliver more efficient treatment, more effectively, with the potential to improve outcomes. At MAP, we are committed to improving outcomes and reducing healthcare expense.
Interoperability provides an opportunity to extend and expand the care continuum for these patients as well as every patient receiving healthcare in the U.S. We all agree the system is fractured and best practice is not always achieved. Advanced technologies through interoperable connections will be a challenge as there are obstacles to overcome. However, reducing redundant procedures and medication errors while improving communication between providers will result in higher quality are. As value-based reimbursement begins to replace fee-for-service plans, healthcare interoperability will offer yet another advantage when providers seek contracts with health insurance plans and payers.
As our system learns to operate with greater efficiencies we will see patients with improved outcomes, a reduction in healthcare expenses and duplication, with the added benefit of driving revenue for many inefficient systems.