Can the Internet Save an Overburdened Healthcare System?
Even though the now sitting president, Donald J. Trump has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, he is meeting with opposition on both sides of the fence. This is disturbing on several fronts, but never more so than in terms of a healthcare system which is out of control financially.
Every small service costs more than the average worker makes in a week and that is, to President Trump and most of the nation, totally unacceptable. While debates continue over how to fix a broken system, there is one guiding light in all this that should be brought into focus. Perhaps the Internet can play more than a small role in saving an overburdened healthcare system. Consider just a few of the ways in which the average patient can take an active role in their own care by using online resources.
Enter the Internet of Things
Actually, a growing number of patients around the globe are already taking a greater portion of their healthcare into their own hands through the use of wearables. While some of these devices communicate over cellphone connections, the Internet plays a huge role in disseminating information received via patient portals. Not only is data stored on a patient portal for access by the patients themselves, but specialists also have access to data in real time by connecting to the provider’s EHR or EMR platforms.
Instead of running to the doctor every time you suspect something is off kilter, such as blood glucose levels or irregular heartbeats, the wearable can figuratively as well as literally sound an alarm at your doctor’s office. The staff will then tell the doctor who can quickly assess the situation and make an immediate decision as to whether you should be seen or continue being monitored. It’s amazing what the Internet and cellphone technology can do for healthcare to keep the costs lower.
Research Is Vital to Staying Informed
One of the things which many patients can do to help reduce the cost of healthcare is to do some of their own research. For example, one of the most widely prescribed medications on a global level is Humira, which is primarily prescribed for the treatment of such debilitating diseases as rheumatoid arthritis. However, being patented and using tactics to delay the manufacturing of generic forms, patients are left to pay the cost or go without. Humira alternatives have been approved by the FDA.
Although alternative medications such as Amjevita by Amgen Inc. will not be on the market yet, patients are advised to watch for the release of much cheaper and equally effective drugs. Patients wouldn’t even know about cheaper alternatives in cases such as this because it’s not something most doctors will discuss on routine med checks. By using the Internet to do a bit of research, you are then able to ask intelligent questions, thereby taking an active role in your own healthcare.
If you are suffering from a chronic illness costing you more than you can afford, even with health insurance, remember that the Internet is your one-stop-shop for all the information you could ever hope for. There are often cheaper alternatives out there and the Internet can help you find them.