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Transforming Healthcare Using An E-Commerce Model

From Forbes:

Navani also envisions a day when patients can actually shop for doctor services the way people do for hotels on Priceline. “In healthcare, you and I can’t go and ask the question: ‘Who’s available to do an MRI today?’ We’ve launched that capability a year ago for doctors and we’re expanding that now to dentists and to MRIs.”

via Transforming Healthcare Using An E-Commerce Model.

As written the ACA (Obamacare) is unworkable. Healthcare policy wonks continue to debate mandates, subsidies, Cadillac taxes and the failed web site. Can it be fixed? Should it be replaced? Or is there another option?

Another approach is described in the linked article. That is to abandon the 19th century model of central command and control and apply 21st century information technology.

Many of the problems with the US health care delivery system can be traced to the disconnect between consumers and payers. Patients routinely agree to medical care with no idea of what it will cost. They do this because they are not expected to pay. The insurer will pay.

Even if a patient wanted to know the cost the system is opaque. There is often no way to determine the expected cost. The doctor – patient-  payer relationship suffers from a severe information asymmetry. The doctor knows what should be done but does not know the cost. The patient wants the best and does not care about the cost as long as they will not be paying. The insurer is the only one that knows about costs and does everything possible to control them.

Information technology could and should provide transparency that could get the medical system back on track. Every time it is tried free market systems reduce costs and improve quality.

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