Does Technology Improve Healthcare or Access?
This article (1) stirs my mind. By itself, it is food for thought about the future of American healthcare and the future of those unable to access advanced technology because of insurance coverage.
In the US healthcare arena, Medicare is the gold standard. Being the largest payer, as well as the Government, Medicare dictates what is covered and what is not.
Commercial insurers either try to meet Medicare standards or exceed them, to compete in providing health coverage to employers.
Access to advanced technology that is changing healthcare, allowing it to be delivered anywhere, is not available to everyone with insurance.
The elderly who are on Medicare have the worst coverage, with most of this advanced technology that is beneficial to them not covered. No coverage means no access. Medicare sets the standard for coverage of healthcare services.
Others who do not benefit from advanced technology that is transforming medicine, moving it to the communities where outcomes are determined, are Black & Brown communities. Impoverished neighborhoods in urban areas.
Only recently did Medicare lift the limitation on telemedicine to include care in patient homes. Still Most Black & Brown communities do not receive such access to telemedicine, where transportation limitations can make doctor office visits a hardship.
The above is an example of structural racism. In addition, Black & Brown community hospitals are under-staffed and the staff poorly screened. As well as not offering many technologies available in rural hospitals, such as telemedicine in the home. Other limitations include Black & Brown communities still lacking smart phones, which could deliver such services.
[ What is the penetration rate of smart phones in Black communities? Anyone know?]
Doctors are leaving impoverished, homeless, mentally ill and Black & Brown communities behind. Without access to immediate life saving measures these communities are dying off. Infant mortality rates for Black women, despite income, are similar to that of a developing nation. Infant mortality is a standard indicator of health.
We need doctors to advocate policies that benefit patients and not drug and medical device companies. Doctors also need to stop letting insurance companies dictate patient care.
Please do share your thoughts.
Second Part in Series on How Doctors Kill Patients