You don’t need to be in medicine or a CNN junkie to know that the costs of health care are a major roadblock in the path of health care reform. In Pennsylvania alone, we spend
$5,933 per person
on health care--a figure nearly $700 over the national average. When attempting to reduce this wasteful spending, one could target several culprits but few as egregious as unnecessary procedures. In a recent article for the New England Journal of Medicine
, University of Texas
physician Howard Brody stated that avoiding unnecessary procedures could save one third of medical costs. That’s a savings of nearly $500 billion.
Southeast PA’s Halfpenny Technologies
made a move this week that will address one of the proven cures for wasteful spending: timely and digestible information exchange. This week, the Blue Bell HIE firm announced their acquisition of Laboratory Management Services
, a New York-based provider of data management systems for health plans and clinical laboratories. With the addition of Laboratory Management Services, Halfpenny will be able to more effectively provide health care data to health plans who can, in turn, provide better oversight to curb wasteful spending.
“When a hospital treats a patient, they send the insurance company a bill and the insurance company pays for it but they don’t actually see what the results were on the patient,” says Halfpenny CEO Jerry Baker. “What we are doing is getting the clinical data from the hospitals and the labs and putting it in a format that these companies can receive it to see what the patient’s condition is, helping formulate a disease plan.”
Some may cringe and the idea of an insurance company getting more involved with care until considering a recent Dartmouth study
, which found that 30,000 Americans die each year from unnecessary care. Better information exchange, Baker says, will allow insurance companies to have input on more streamlined treatment options and even create performance-based incentive programs for doctors.
“Not only can these companies more proactively advise on care, they can change the reimbursement of a physician based on the improvement of the patient over time,” says Baker. “But they can’t do that unless they have all the results, which is what we are dealing with.”Source: Jerry Baker, Halfpenny TechnologiesWriter: John Steele