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Physician says new health tech system could save $500 billion a year

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Writing in The Baltimore Sun, Bruce T. Taylor, M.D., a psychiatrist, touts a new approach to U.S. healthcare that he says would save $500 billion a year without cutting health benefits or services. Here’s the central part of his pitch:

“All practitioners struggle with the problem of getting and providing patient records in a timely and efficient manner. There is much expensive duplication of effort in our current system, whether it be lab tests and procedures, or each provider asking the patient for their history all over again. Administrative problems raise the cost of care and reduce funds available for other needs, causing discontent and decreasing our ability to compete in the world economy….”

“Smart-Care system can reduce these problems and costs, while actually helping to improve care without reducing benefits or services. Smart-Care will use secure online technology to make patient records available to all providers through the cloud along with insurance coverage, billing and reimbursement. Other countries with lower costs and better results do something similar.

“This should produce savings of up to 15 percent or more, which would be over $500 billion a year and yield a 2.7 percent boost to the entire United States economy. This is estimated to save the government over $35.25 billion per year just in lower costs of government employees’ healthcare coverage; there will be other savings as well. With Smart-Care, waste is cut by accessing the health information system at the start of an encounter using the patient’s magnetic card or number along with passwords and possible biometric protection. Benefits are clearly available at the point of service and, after the visit, a brief record of care is uploaded in return for prompt online payment. Everything stays up to date and readily available to improve care. The costs to implement the program should be less than the first year’s savings, and the program once initiated can be self-supporting with modest non-profit transaction fees similar to, but less than, those of a credit card payment.”

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