Report identifies new directions for U.S. health care

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Report Identifies Game Changers for U.S. Health Care
Report Identifies Game Changers for U.S. Health Care

(HealthDay News) -- Imagine if doctors and hospitals got paid for providing better care, not more care, and patients had better data for making informed health choices. A new report suggests that's the direction the U.S. health system is headed.

The report, from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics in Parsippany, N.J., identifies 10 "harbingers of change" -- recent events expected to alter the delivery of health care and use of medicines over the next decade.

One indication of what lies ahead: the entry of such technology juggernauts as Apple, Google, and Samsung into the health care marketplace, according to the report. IMS predicts greater innovation in mobile health applications and wearable health devices that cull personal health data and monitor everything from physical activity to blood glucose levels. And with permission to do so, a doctor could tap into those data to tweak medication levels without the patient having to make an appointment. Based on results of a recent European study, IMS estimates that mobile health technology could benefit a third of the U.S. population and save the health system $81 billion by encouraging wellness and ensuring appropriate treatment.

The authors concede that poor adoption of new technologies, worries about data privacy and other obstacles could slow the pace of change, but their long-term outlook for patient care is hopeful. "I think there can be optimism about the effectiveness of the care [patients] receive and even the cost of it," Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute, told HealthDay.

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