Current Challenges with the Medicare System & their Solutions

medicare challenges

Anyone working in the medicare industry will be aware of the current problems with medicare that are in need of immediate solutions. The major medicare challenges 2020 include inefficient processes, poor access to medicare, rising medicare costs, low quality of care, and a lack of patient-centered treatment.

These challenges of medicare have accumulated over decades of shifts within the healthcare industry and are changing how the industry functions for medicare providers and patients. While these are significant challenges, digital technology is taking the lead to resolve them in the coming years.Let’s look at how technologies are addressing three of these five challenges in detail

Challenge 1: Reducing Medicare Costs

It’s a fact that people are living much longer collectively than they ever did in recorded history. This is surely a very positive development brought by medical advancements, but it also poses a huge challenge: the longer people live, the more medical resources they will need to support a healthy and active lifestyle. The rising demand for this has increased the cost of medicare for everybody.

According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), medicare spending will see an average of 5.5% increase per year till 2026 – at which point it will account for almost 20% of the U.S. economy. By 2026, medicare spending in the U.S. is forecasted to reach $5.7 trillion due to high drug prices.

What can solve the problem of ever-increasing medicare costs? Prevention is going to play an extremely important role in it. Preventing chronic disease is much more cost-effective in the long run as compared to treatment. Of course, prevention will take a multi-pronged plan of action to be effective and technology can play a large role in it.

Specifically, wearable health technology like sensors allows individuals to monitor their health in real-time. The opportunity to check activity level, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and heartbeat holds a lot of promise in preventing chronic diseases. By partnering the mass adoption of these health devices with data analytics, it will be easier to monitor patients health remotely and intervene directly to prevent chronic diseases.

Challenge 2: Reducing Inefficiencies in Medicare

The American medicare industry is functioning in extremes at the moment. While it utilizes high-tech solutions like genome sequencing and augmented reality, its foundation is constructed on low-tech processes such as paper-based record keeping that needs to be digitized eventually. It is not just counterproductive but truly wasteful. Administrative expenses play a large role in rising medicare costs. It has been estimated that nearly half of the money spent on medicare administration in the U.S. is ultimately wasted. There is a need to reduce these inefficiencies so that attention can be given to the overarching concerns plaguing medicare. One such process in need of digitization is patient record sharing.

When a patient moves from one hospital/medicare provider to another, the records are generally physically photocopied and delivered either as hardcopy or faxed to the new provider. This can take time and often leads to incomplete records. It can also be hazardous to patients undergoing complex treatments for whom the sharing of records immediately is essential.

While many technologies are being explored to address this issue such as using blockchain to store and share patient records, there are quicker and simpler solutions available in the market right now for secure transmission for patient records and data sharing. Hucu.ai is a HIPAA compliant free messaging application that medicare providers can use to share patient data, safely and securely in a matter of minutes. In a situation where a critical patient is being transmitted from one medicare facility to another, Hucu.ai allows medicare providers to create specific ‘channels’ to communicate and collaborate in real-time for the patient remotely. This drastically reduces the time wasted in sending records for photocopy and then to be faxed. Medicare providers can simply share the data digitally through Hucu.ai application in a secure HIPAA compliant environment in a matter of minutes. It promotes healthcare data security.

Challenge 3: Improving Medicare Access

For any individual to benefit from modern medical advancement, they first need to have access to it. Unfortunately, along both geographic and socioeconomic spectrums, medicare access is not equitably distributed as one would have wanted.

According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), medicare access can be broken into three separate problems:

  1. Insurance coverage: whether or not a patient can afford the costs to treat chronic or acute illness
  2. Geographic availability: whether or not a patient is located in a place where they have access to medicare facilities and services
  3. Timeliness of care: whether or not a patient can address a medical concern promptly regardless of it being a life-threatening injury or a slowly-developing chronic disease.

Issues of geographic availability and timeliness of care are being addresses fantastically through the use of technology today: use of laptops, Smartphones, tablets can facilitate a remote appointment even if the patient is not able to visit the doctor physically. The increased prevalence and advancement of telemedicine and e-visit allow the patient to communicate with caregivers virtually. It is a book for people with limited mobility or those living in hard to reach locations. An application like Hucu.ai can be used to facilitate this process further. In today’s time when privacy, security and confidentiality in the healthcare environment are a major concern, Hucu.ai allows the hospital staff to collaborate safely in a HIPAA compliant environment that maintains patient data security and to provide care to the patient on time without a delay.

Medicare like any other industry is seeing rapid changes and shifts thanks to the advent of new technologies. To stay competitive in the field and offer the best care to their patients, medicare providers need to update themselves with helpful technologies like Hucu.ai in a proactive manner.

We discussed three of five major challenges faced by the medicare industry and how technology is solving them. Stay tuned for part 2 in which we will discuss patient centered care and quality of care.

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