Obamacare & IT Healthcare
By Dr. Scott Vinci, Chiropractic Physician, Healthcare Consultant, CDI
The long-term impact of Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) on our nations health care delivery system is yet to be determined. What we do know is that no class of professionals in the United States has been more impacted than Physicians.
For years, third party re-imbursement agreements ate away at the integrity of the medical profession. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has, and will continue to denigrate this system and support the worst features therein.
Despite all the negative attention and complete and utter frustration from doctors, the bigger impact of the 906-page legislation will be in the IT world! The inherent structural changes that are mandated by the Obamacare legislation have a profound impact on how private Physicians and Hospitals get paid. The regulated accumulation of patient data, and the “meaningful use” of technology for that purpose is a proposed “strategy” for the improvement of our cost-to-value structure. This concept is defined as an “Affordable Care Organization” or ACO, and it proposes that said hospitals and physicians will share in cost savings with the government. Just don’t hold your breath. The accumulation of data and necessary changes and upgrades to present IT systems will be overwhelming.
ACO’s are clearly a reflection of their predecessor’s, HMO’s (Health Maintenance Organization) and the more recent MCO’s (Managed Care Organizations). The failure of which was due in large part because of the lack of meaningful data. In today’s IT environment, that’s not a problem. The proposition for an ACO is clearly to leverage a “modern” Health IT infrastructure which helps us get to a more “outcomes based” approach to health care. There is an industry wide push on IT professionals to improve technology and analytics for the monstrous volumes of data that need to be gathered to that end.
But not everything has a silver lining. The push on hospitals IT personnel is tremendous. For larger hospital organizations, there is some pain with expansion of IT systems but business / medical continuity is preserved. For the more rural and smaller hospitals, the push for massive IT change can be overwhelming.
One thing is certain, Obamacare is here to stay, at least for a few more years and its impact on both healthcare providers as well as the IT Industry, will be tremendous.