At the start of 2013 many Medicare doctors will watch their reimbursements for Medicare go down by 29%. Consider that if you will, doctors will take a pay cut of 30% in 2013. Many Medicare doctors are sick and tired of all the paperwork, restrictions, and costs dealing with Medicare. Further, the government is very slow to pay the bills, and remember doctors are running a business, often a small business. As more and more doctors decide not to take Medicare patients there will be shortages.
Is there a technological way around this challenge in the future? If you talk to a doctor they would certainly like to be paid more, and they would also like to see malpractice lawsuits disappear, or be drastically reduced. Remember, 30% of what a doctor charges goes to medical malpractice insurance. Think of that if you will, it’s like they are being hit from all sides, and it’s taking a toll on our healthcare industry in the United States.
Is it possible in the future that you won’t ever have to go to the doctor, that everything can be done online? How about in the future with holographic projection and spectral imaging? How about a virtual doctor or how about making yourself a virtual patient in 3-D by standing in front of your computer and sending all the information, it will be as if your doctor is standing there with you, but you save the fuel driving to the doctor, and the waiting time in the lobby. Both you and the doctor save money, and that means that our government when they reimburse the cost for a Medicare visit, the taxpayer pays less.
There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on December 21, 2012 titled “Doctors Move to Webcams,” by Anna Wilde Mathews which noted a number of health care providers using such strategies such as; Well Point, UnitedHealth, and Aetna, American Well Corp. Still, one has to ask what the future of all this might become? Okay so, let’s speculate for a moment while I put on my Futurist hat. Precision MD
In Kurzweil’s “Accelerating Intelligence” online news there was a piece titled; “The future of medicine is now” published on December 31, 2012 and reprinted from also the WSJ which noted; “Last month, the FDA cleared a new iPhone add-on that lets doctors take an electrocardiogram just about anywhere. Other smartphone apps help radiologists read medical images and allow patients to track moles for signs of skin cancer.”
Of course, there will probably be challenges with this such as fake or even fraudulent folks pretending to be doctors. It is quite possible that your video stream or images of yourself could be hijacked, or a hacker could get into the system and attain that information. Right now, we have HIPPA laws which should suffice. Of course, if you talk to the EFF or Electronic Freedom Foundation I am sure they will have a thing or two to say about all this in the future as well.
Still, can you imagine the benefits of having virtual doctors, and saving the taxpayer from our runaway costs in our medical industrial complex? Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.