Election years inspire endless debates over social, fiscal, and public-safety issues. The upcoming 2016 elections will likely follow that tradition, and health technology remains an important subject for consumers and health care professionals alike. Find out how the 2016 elections might impact health technology innovations and use.
Politicians Will Have to Address Consumer Health Care Spending
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As with most political conversations, the discussions involving health technology will likely start with the industry’s impact on consumer spending. Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Noam N. Levey reported that consumers have grown increasingly frustrated by high medical expenses and that the next president and Congress must focus on ways to make health care more affordable for people regardless of their income.
Levey identified the high costs of prescription medication, medical procedures, and lab tests as critical pain points for the American public. Health technology can potentially reduce health care costs for consumers. For example, according to HealthIT.gov, technology such as EHRs, electronic health records, and electronic prescription submissions can save providers time and money. Providers can then share those savings with their patients.
Debates Will Arise Around Self-Care Issues
In addition to high health care costs, self-care issues will also take center stage during the 2016 elections. In a Newsmax report, Beth Seidenberg, from the firm Kleiner and Perkins, stated patients suffering from chronic conditions could reduce their health care bills by up to 75 percent if they make positive lifestyle choices. The strategic implementation of health technology solutions could help patients make those changes.
Advances in technology can help health informatics professionals process detailed information about patients’ conditions and progress. Their findings can allow them to educate patients on how to take better care of themselves and improve the accuracy of diagnoses, tests, and procedures.
Politicians Should Consider the Potential Impact of Mobile Health Technology
Mobile technology could automate many aspects of self-care for patients and help them regulate their progress more closely. Former American Enterprise Institute intern Sarah Fellay noted, “78 percent of smartphone users have expressed interest in portable health devices.” In other words, health care providers aren’t the only people who believe positive results could come from this technology.
Wearable technology and mobile devices can help collect valuable information, such as respiration, heart rate, and blood-sugar levels, leading to faster intervention in a crisis and more accurate diagnoses. Fellay cautioned, however, that the industry needs tighter regulation for mobile health (mHealth) technology to prevent injuries and accidents.
The mobile health industry continues to grow more powerful, according to mHealth Intelligence’s Eric Wicklund, especially for the senior community. Elderly consumers can benefit from sensors and connected devices that can help them live longer lives. Politicians may want to take this factor into consideration as they make campaign promises and approach the upcoming debates.
The 2016 election remains several months into the future, but the election itself will revolve around many issues, including health technology. The politicians with the strongest engagement in this sector may receive an advantage over the competition.
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