Jack Uldrich
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A Real “Artificial” $675 billion Opportunity in Health Care

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At a recent healthcare event, I shared the stage with Dr. Richard Migliori, Executive Vice president of Health Services at United Health Group and, in his opening keynote presentation, he identified six factors driving higher-than-necessary health care costs:

1. Unnecessary services
2. The inefficient delivery of services
3. Price disparities
4. Excessive administration costs
5. Fraud
6. Missed prevention opportunities

In total, these six factors add an estimated $675 billion in unnecessary costs to America’s $2.1 trillion healthcare bill.

Help is on the way and, not surprisingly, it isn’t coming from Washington, DC. It is coming in the form of a computer.

I have written before about IBM’s Watson supercomputer but I encourage you to watch this 90-second video on how the computer—and the artificial intelligence behind it–is working its way up the healthcare food chain.

It is unrealistic to expect Watson or other supercomputers to eliminate the entire $675 billion but the tools will help farsighted healthcare administrators and hospitals reduce the total by:

–Better questioning which services and procedures are necessary and appropriate;
–Identifying those areas where services aren’t being delivered efficiently (i.e. which hospitals have higher than normal complication rates) and where prices are inflated in comparison with neighboring hospitals;
–Lowering administrative costs by freeing personnel from time-consuming tasks such as searching electronic healthcare records;
–Sifting out fishy and fraudulent claims in much the same way banks can today spot suspicious activity on a person’s credit card; and
–Helping hospitals and healthcare providers deliver more timely preventative medicine by identifying at-risk individuals and then ensuring time-appropriate action is taken on their behalf.

Interested in other popular healthcare-related posts by leading healthcare futurist Jack Uldrich? Check out these articles:

Watson, Come Here: A Clue to Cancer
Top Ten Future Healthcare trends

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