Curtis Lowery, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and director of the Center for Distance Health, discusses how technology will impact the future of healthcare.
How important is technology in the future of healthcare? What sort of innovations do you see happening in the next few years?
I think technology is very important in providing quality care and driving down costs. One only needs to look at the banking industry [and] online purchases to see how this technology revolutionizes the system.
I think that healthcare is now poised to take advantage of technology as well. The payer system needs to be reformed.
And it is being reformed underneath our eyes right now. We’re moving away from a fee-for-service world into bundled care payments and ultimately upside downside global contracts that would be so called "value-based" healthcare not volume-based, where you get rewarded for value and not seeing high volumes of patients or doing procedures to patients.
As we begin to do that, the obvious solution to this is to use technology, video conferencing and also devices deployed on patients to help in out-patient management and supporting smaller facilities to help them provide quality care and deliver patients that maybe they would bebe uncomfortable without the support of a tertiary care system.
We’re beginning to do what’s called population health, or population management. As we move forward with this, you're going to see more and more use of technology increased to provide the structure to do that kind of new care.