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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) aims to reduce costs while improving quality of care. Of course, those in Healthcare IT have been trying to reduce costs and improve care for years. Perhaps there are some real opportunities to improve IT delivery around the ACA, and those opportunities may exist more in cloud than traditional approaches.
Delivering high-quality clinical care is impossible without the support of strategic, integrated, and agile IT systems. Today, aligning clinical care with technology requires IT systems and staff to improve an organization’s ability to adhere to the requirements of the ACA. This means being more innovative when looking for solutions that will provide the ability to quickly comply to the letter and spirit of the law, as well as provide better delivery of care in support of patients and providers.
Why cloud? The use of resources that is easy to provision, as required, seems to be vital to support the coming changes. Now there is a premium placed on cloud computing features such as time-to-market and agility advantages.
What about security? While healthcare organizations are understandably paranoid about compromising data or failing audit, the reality is that no matter if its co-lo or cloud, the amount and effectiveness of security is a function of the planning and technology employed, not the location of the data.
Stepping back a bit, there are 10 titles within the ACA, which I’m not listing here. Most interesting is Title III “Improving the Quality and Efficiency of Health Care.”
There are more than 100 sections under this title, but the gist is that the way we are providing healthcare, including automating processes and the sharing of data, leaves a lot to be desired.
Although some costs will go up and perhaps capacity will be strained, the idea behind the Act is to provide more efficient and effective healthcare. The road to that goal starts with better automation and information sharing. Providers need to do this in the cheapest and most effective ways. Enter cloud computing.
Through the extension of insurance promised under Obamacare, healthcare IT innovation is set to accelerate in a few areas.
First, we’ll see innovation through the exchanges themselves, and the ability to finally share information previously not shared. This will make the jobs of providers much easier. While exchanges are nothing new, the regulated use of them, as well as required deadlines to get them in place, makes cloud that much more attractive.
Second, the digitization of patient data will result in advanced levels of information sharing and collaboration between insurance providers and doctors. This means yet another scary prospect of key systems and security changes need to occur to accommodate the Act. However, the advantages of the end-game here are compelling when you think about the number of mistakes that can and will be avoided, as well as the new abilities to turn this information to the advantage of the patients and clinicians.
The ACA is here to stay, no matter where you sit on the political fence. While many are quick to point out the issues, of which there are many, and the complexities, of which there are just as many, the opportunity for healthcare IT to improve around support of the ACA clearly exists. While there are numerous technologies to be employed, the use of cloud-based resources seems to provide the best time and agility advantage for these organizations. It’s time to build this technology into your strategy.
Source: Associated Press