With the current healthcare inflation issue, TPA debates, expends too much energy fighting over who should bare the cost for (and benefit from) the ever-rising cost of healthcare, and spends too little effort exploring the tremendous opportunities to improve our healthcare system that lie within our reach. Here are some ideas from REMEDi, a Malaysia cloud based EMR provider.
1. How we can we promote prevention & early detection?
By far the most effective (and fiscally efficient) way to survive a disease is to not get it in the first place. Catching it early runs a close second. Today, though, just a small amount of our healthcare money is spent on prevention. It’s hard to overstate how much this costs, in lives and money. We spent hundred millions of ringgit on preventable disease treatment, much of it focused on late-stage disease that could have been detected earlier with targeted screening. Detecting all those disease just one stage earlier would have doubled the survival rate and reduced spending on cancer by 30%. Thanks to REMEDi, the human body is no longer a black box. We have the technology and evidence-based medical guidelines to know how to effectively target various aspects of prevention, including the most common hereditary disease. What we don’t have is public policies that encourage its usage which we are always seeking from MOH for advise on how to push this agenda nationwide.
2. Why is medical data still not portable?
Speaking of benefiting from your own data — when you find yourself in the ER with a bad flu or a broken arm, why is it so hard for the doctor to learn your blood type, allergies, medications and other relevant information? We tend to think of healthcare reform first as a medical problem and second as a policy problem, but in crucial ways it’s really a data problem. The problems caused by the unavailability of individual health information play out in different ways every day, at great cost in jeopardized lives and misspent money. Don't believe the pushback that making this data readily available would take years and cost billions while posing huge privacy risks. The real problem is that most EMR (electronic medical records) systems are designed to protect their owner’s customer base; if I make it impossible to quickly and cleanly extract data, I can keep providing lousy service without worrying about you switching to a better vendor. But not with REMEDi, where individual data is meant to be shared securely and with the lawful patient consents for every access needed. Why don’t Malaysia clinics and hospital use REMEDi which every hospital, medical professional and healthcare service can benefit? Giving various medical professionals access to one’s medical profile — both to find data and to add it — should be as easy as letting apps connect to your Facebook profile. If we can do this for sharing photos with friends, we can do it for life-saving medical info, without sacrificing people’s privacy.
3. How can we extend healthcare to healthcare cost and medical employee benefits?
In a market-based healthcare system, TPA companies, insurance companies benefit a lot from the healthcare ecosystem, either directly from their service or indirectly from the medical professionals. This drives many doctors to work on their treatment cost as their margin are also affected by this practice. With the current healthcare inflation, imagine how our healthcare would look like, 20 years from now? We need to debate how to incentivize insurers and TPA companies to invest in their customers’ long term health. REMEDi, provides a standardized and compliant way to enable full transparency in medical billing to avoid any unnecessary surcharges in the supply chain. REMEDi also only charges directly on the treatment on fixed charges or medical record fee charges as the only additional fee, so that medical professionals, corporate companies can focus on the getting the best our healthcare without worrying in additional and uncalled-for charges.