So I’m also posting today as a guest blogger at WHCC

Here is the World Health Care Congress blog.

And here is my first post:

 If asthma takes $200 to prevent and $10,000 to treat, why would any self-respecting doctor or hospital want to prevent such a lucrative opportunity?

Why would any hospital group want to use Bayesian statistics to intelligently use radiology studies when intelligent ordering decreases revenue by 30%?

Why would we want to cut off the hand that feeds us?

Healthcare is a business.  Profound, I know.  Until we implement policies that pay for intelligence rather than use, the profits and out-of-control spending will only get worse (or higher, depending on who you are in the Industry and how you benefit from these policies – of course, it all has to be put in perspective).  

George Halvorson, CEO of Kaiser, gave an excellent overview of the underlying problems of the US Healthcare Industry.  Mainly, there are no incentives for any of the main players in the healthcare system to curb spending – except for some abstract notion Americans care very little about – long term economic sustainability and the ability to compete with other countries and their growing economies.

However, George’s solutions to US healthcare problems suggest that centralization is the best method to curb costs.  I strongly disagree.  Controlling costs in healthcare is about decentralizing healthcare, encouraging competition (and discouraging oligopolies) and bringing it back to the community at the neighborhood level and paying for how well each physician uses intelligent communication technologies to manage their dashboard of costly, chronic patients.  If diabetes is the fastest growing disease in America and we get care right only about 10% of the time in diabetic patients, shouldn’t we start by mastering how to control all the diabetics that live in your neighborhood?

But of course this model doesn’t bode well for the leaders of the oligopolies that have formed in healthcare that won’t see the revenue from that $10,000 diabetic amputation.

As a side note, as I’m writing this post, I just heard a speaker say something about “disruptive technology” in healthcare being found mainly in neuroimaging.  

We’ve got a long way to go folks if neuroimaging is being seen by our leaders as a disruptive technology.