I remember when I first started working in the healthcare industry in 1998, people kept reinforcing for me that “Healthcare is Local”. As we move into a national effort to transform healthcare, the question is how will healthcare transform to gain scale efficiencies while still taking advantage of this simple reality.
With that in mind, I found a WSJ article today about hospitals trying house calls very interesting. It talks about how insurers and health systems are using the old fashion model of house calls to engage patients to reduce re-admissions and improve outcomes…while lowering costs. Since healthcare costs are massively concentrated with 1% of patients driving 22% of healthcare costs, this becomes possible. Additionally, as you focus . on people at high risk based on some model like the Johns Hopkins ACG model or people who have been recently discharged or people with multiple co-morbidities and other risk factors, you have a chance to make a difference. It will be interesting to see how this takes off.
Another example of how healthcare is going local is the use of health apps. I saw a number earlier today where someone was saying there’s now 50,000 health apps. I usually talk about 16,000, but it’s obviously going up all the time. Employee Benefit News recently had an article about how health apps were changing the engagement rates for wellness programs. Obviously, the phone is the ultimate in local allowing the creation of an app that’s with us all the time and can be real-time in terms of interactivity.