Habush Habush and Rottier

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Patient-Centric Database

I've been thinking a lot lately about patient registries, accountable care networks, and Healthy Planet-type stuff. Personal fact: I'm prone to think up conspiracy-theories and am, at the macro-level, a glass-half-empty person. When you put the two together, it makes this blogger concerned about the future of healthcare.

"With the Patient at the Heart" is printed on the back of Epic's business cards, and emblazoned proudly on company vehicles. I've worked at different organizations that had similar slogans about patients being first and foremost and the most important thing. The underlying sentiment with these slogans is that each patient is a unique individual, and each patient deserves personalized care.

Healthy Planet (and its primary drivers, Obamacare and MU) are active obstacles to that. No longer is Joe Smith a relatively healthy male and a compliant patient with diabetes whose lab tests happen to run slightly abnormal, he's now the 37th entry on the list of patients with an A1C over 7. He's been on that list for a year now, and gets a letter every month saying he needs to come in for a checkup. Mr Smith's doctor is worried, because even though Joe is healthy and doing everything to correctly manage his diabetes, the lab tests run high enough that the doctor gets dinged on his metrics. The doctor is therefore considering dropping Mr Smith as a patient.

Enter Accountable Care Networks. Now, not only is Medicare tracking all your stats, but your employer is too. And because your employer is paying the hospitals, your employer has a vested interested in your health. The healthier you are, the cheaper it is for your CFO, and those savings can be passed directly to the stockholders. Taken to its logical conclusion, given equal experience, equal qualifications, and identical answers during the interview, it's going to be the younger/skinnier/male candidate who gets the job. Age/Gender Discrimination will morph into Health Discrimination.

Discuss below. Are my fears irrational? Is your organization re-working existing teams to meet a growing list of reporting needs that must be available in prod yesterday?