As we have mentioned before, the rising costs of healthcare are becoming unsustainable in many countries; and in all countries these costs continue to grow, with the exception of Finland where the costs are actually decreasing.
The reason for this is that in 2012 Finland introduced a nationwide tele-monitoring service for a range of people – in particular the aged population and those with chronic diseases. Already, in just one year, it has become clear that the overall healthcare costs have started to show signs of decrease.
In most countries e-health is basically ‘boycotted’ by the various health professional organisations, who over the last decade have successfully carried out FUD campaigns (fear, uncertainty and doubt) – claiming issues such as security and privacy, and warning that people could die if such services were introduced. These organisations do not like the transparency that becomes available through e-health, which would undermine the high charges they claim for services. Computerised diagnostics based on big data analytics are another threat to them.
Research conducted by IBM into healthcare has shown an efficiency level of minus 42%, easily the worse of all public sectors. IBM also calculated that a 30% efficiency gain is achievable through e-health.
Obviously the USA represents the worst case scenario, where unbridled capitalism has seen this sector paying the highest average salaries to doctors and specialists, ranking only after the executives in the financial sector. With little or no accountability the government has indicated that it will address this high income level of the professionals in these sectors with the slogan ‘no outcome, no income’. How successful they will be remains a big question.
The costs of healthcare (selected countries)
% of GDP
(Source: BuddeComm based on government data)
Key areas that should see the largest improvement by the introduction of e-health include, in order of ranking:
- Cardio monitoring
- Sleep monitoring
- Tele-health applications
Apnoea specialist Resmed indicated that it could see a 31% decrease in medical costs through the use of tele-monitoring. It estimates the economic cost of apnoea in the USA at $16 billion and in Australia at $2.5 billion.
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