by Ben Perreira
Why aren’t mom’s eight specialists aware of each other’s existence? Why is health care mostly conducted via a pad and pen, and beepers and fax machines, in the iPhone era? Why are there so few geriatricians when the first wave of Baby Boomers is already turning 65? Why is it still so hard to find usable information about quality and prices?
The reason isn’t a lack of hospital administrators or technocratic experts. More often than not it’s that patients aren’t the true consumers. The government is, and medical providers inevitably serve the paymaster.
An unattributed Wall Street Journal article contains the above quote in its rebuking of Obamacare. As an author of a forthcoming article on business models and strategy of mobile technology in healthcare, I find the statement unfounded.
Obamacare is taking a lot of flack from both sides of the aisle, and deservedly so. Conservatives find it too far-reaching and will destroy business; liberals think it doesn’t change much in delivering health services to the uninsured.
Still, my research has shown that the main barrier to getting technology in healthcare is getting doctors to use it. Consumers demand technology and get it from a variety of sources. The problem is that doctors have no incentive to input the data into the systems that ultimately interface with patients.
The statement is a convenient assumption for someone trying to poke holes in Obamacare, but ultimately untrue.