Reducing length of stay
What is the biggest way that “talkative” medical devices could save money? WHI suggests that the answer lies in reducing patient’s length of stay in the hospital. The organization calculates that nearly $18 billion could be obtained by doing so.
The trick in shortening the length of stay, according to WHI, is in speeding up the process for getting test results to physicians. Reducing just one-tenth of a day from the test results process could generate nearly $8 billion in in-patient savings. Almost $10 billion could be saved yearly by significantly streamlining the lab results process in emergency rooms.
WHI’s $35 billion savings estimate actually could be on the conservative side. They only looked at hospitals, but medical device interoperability should greatly benefit other care settings, particularly long-term and post-acute care.
Some progress is being made. For instance, Medtronic, Inc. (NYSE:MDT) and St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) both support interoperability with their cardiac devices. Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) enables uploading of data from some of its point-of-care blood testing devices directly to EHR systems. GE Healthcare and EHR vendor Cerner Corporation (NASDAQ:CERN) were among several organizations that pledged earlier this year to make their devices and systems interoperable.
Companies like these could profit as interoperability becomes more widespread. There’s still a long way to go, though. And the trashcans are continuing to overflow with those wasted dollars.
The article Could This Idea Cut $35 Billion from Health Care Costs? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Keith Speights.
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