The millions of Americans who gained insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) have dominated much of the discussion about American healthcare in recent years. However, many other changes over the last eight years are influencing major players and entrants into the U.S. health sector. And these changes are going to bring new openings and opportunities for companies all over the world.
A health insurance system based on employers rather than universal coverage is one that is unique to the United States among all Western countries. Many people who found themselves without coverage because of unemployment or underemployment have begun to solve that problem by simply delaying or even avoiding getting care for cost reasons. Others became dependent on public assistance, limited to the very poor and often below the standard of care that higher income Americans could receive. Both of these trends became contributors to rising healthcare costs while simultaneously failing to improve those individuals’ health. The ACA helped address these problems in its first phase by giving almost eighteen million Americans new health insurance coverage, working towards giving better healthcare to all Americans.
Another of the ACA’s major efforts to reform the healthcare system has been to grant incentives for a transition to keeping electronic medical records to better connect a very fragmented healthcare system.
Other healthcare-related initiatives gaining traction are:
- Utilizing both telehealth and telemedicine to promote team decision-making and treatment through coordinated care.
- Improving medical care and information access by using digital communication technology to connect patients with their doctors.
- Making improvements in care management for chronic illnesses.
- Taking steps to counter Americans’ obesity epidemic, which often leads to increases in diabetes and other weight-based ailments.
- Rewarding better patient outcomes over unnecessary payments for unneeded service units by payment for performance.
- Promoting preventative behavior to stave off illnesses and their associated costs before they become problems.
- Improving the efficiency of the healthcare system through digitalization of communications and operations across the entire system.
Are there other initiatives gaining traction that you’d like to call attention to? Leave a comment below or share with us on our social media pages!
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