Sunday, July 12, 2015

IT enabled health care trend for decade ahead

I found the article from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on Ten IT-enabled business trends for the decade ahead to be a clear confirmation of what lies ahead for many business trends, specially those that will continue to be enabled by information technology. One aspect that certainly struck a cord with me is the topic of transformation in health care, specifically, the innovative health care solutions. Although all ten of the IT enabled trends will certainly impact our world, health care is one that singled out, still has tremendous untapped potential in the US. According to a MGI report, it estimated $300 billion in potential annual value to US health care alone.

I already see signs of small contributions towards change. One of them is seen in what many corporations are offering as health benefits to their employees. As health insurance costs hit the roof every year, companies are consistently seeking ways to offer health insurance perks that engage employees with hands-on control of their healthcare costs, and provide perks through wellness programs as assistance to reduce overall annual expense on health insurance. These IT enabled capabilities connect insurance company, medical provider, wellness company and employee in ways that are web based and intuitive for to the end user.

This year, my employer revamped its health insurance benefit offerings by limiting the amount of healthcare vendors while increasing employee responsibility with a very high deductible. Although this did not seem like an acceptable change at first, it quickly turned into just another way of managing something that is my responsibility not my employer's. Through a web based insurance company interface, I not only control the expenses of my family's healthcare, I also shop for medical, dental and behavior care when possible. I even have a no-cost option of talking to a healthcare specialist via a web interface to determine if further care is needed. These options were not available to us in the past where we simply paid a high premium and our doctors significantly influenced how costly my family's annual care would be.

With these new types of capability in a scale that empowers the employee with technology tools, I see where healthcare costs and accessibility are quickly changing from one year to the next.

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