With our health care system in crisis, shouldn’t Congress be looking at all areas of cost savings and delivery improvements? This week, Daniel Stonecipher, a small business owner from Concord pointed out one that seems to be a no brainer.
He presented the very real scenario whereby a patient from the North Country needing specialty care in Boston would have to be transported down by helicopter to see the doctor in person, rather than his local doctor being able to use modern technology to communicate with the specialist and patient. This can’t be done now because state-by-state licensing prohibits doctors from practicing in a state in which they are not licensed. This real life example highlights a unique but obvious point in our nation’s healthcare system: there are significant barriers to lowering health care costs and improving quality. The laws that govern our health care system are currently not designed to support the technology of the 21st century.
Nearly every sector of the economy utilizes 21st Century communications to operate, and health care should be no exception. These days, debates around health care reform often lack real solutions and point out real examples of barriers that so many Americans face. If we truly want to bend the health care cost curve and improve access to Americans, technology must be at center of any reform. Mr. Stonecipher should be applauded for raising such a critical issue that is often overlooked by policymakers in Washington.