The last few months have been quite taxing on medical professional. Proposed rules for Meaningful Use stage 2 and the Nationwide Health Information Network came out earlier this year, sending the healthcare community into an epic frenzy. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court finally moved on the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, ending the anxiety which had lasted for months. Healthcare in the US is in the fast lane now. You can probably sense the wheels whirring and moving beneath your feet. It seems as if a drastic overhaul is just round the corner that would change the infrastructure of healthcare in the US.
We are truly entering the next stage of progress. You can even witness the change in behavior, with most medical professionals becoming more pro-active, by voicing concerns or advocating for swift implementation of healthcare reforms. With the transitional process nearly complete, there would be no more paper and no more turning back. Patients and physicians will soon start forgetting about hand written prescriptions and flimsy paper based notes. Medical devices are now capable of auto-populating information within an EMR. Documentation has become more proficient and accurate. In the near future, individuals would be able to carry ID tags with coded health information, and physicians would be able to exchange vital information through interoperable electronic medical records and Health Information Exchanges.
Similarly, telemedicine will gain popularity and medical expenses would decrease over time. The healthcare system will be more responsive to our needs while the quality of care will improve immensely. The fatality rate would decrease with minimal clinical errors and oversights. Patients would be more actively involved in managing their health. The use of web portals, health communities and electronic education would become the norm.
However, everything should fall into place at the right time. We are already witnessing the initial phase of medical reforms influencing the culture of healthcare today. Physicians are breaking old habits and conforming to modern methods of practice. The ideologies of Accountable Care Organizations are coming to life slowly, but surely. The age of connected care is quickly dawning upon us and our roles are likely to evolve. Physicians would have more responsibilities, higher risks and serious threats to deal with. The burden of regulations is likely to increase, while the payment design would change from fee-for-service to fee-for-performance. The insurance companies would require auditable reports and medical practices would be required to demonstrate evidence based documentation. It’s a major difference from where we are now, but we are getting there.