Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reform and Technology

It is no secret that much of the discussion about health care solutions hinges on technology. Efficiency improving, cost reducing tech such as electronic medical records are rightfully brought up in any serious debate on the subject.

With that in mind, today I'm going to point you towards a recent piece in ZDNet's healthcare section by Dana Blankenhorn which discusses the application of Moore's Law to medical reform and technology:

Moore’s Law, the idea that technology gets faster-and-faster faster-and-faster, is not applied often enough to health care. Regulation frustrates it, constantly. We want to audit every data transfer, or place expensive hurdles before any improved device.

Moore’s Law is the force behind the biggest trend in health care, personalized health care. Instead of guessing about what you should do based on test results when you get sick, doctors prescribe lifestyle changes beforehand, based on genetic knowledge.

It’s Moore’s Law which enables Google Health to let you have your personal health records, free. And it’s Moore’s Law which enables Microsoft to store and move all a hospital’s records through its Amalga system.

It’s Moore’s Law which enabled the human genome to be decoded early this decade, and is now enabling the start of decoding how genetics codes for proteins.

It is a significant conundrum, and not an unfamiliar one. Complete deregulation of any big business usually has unwanted consequences, but the speed at which the tech advances is orders of magnitude more rapid than attempts at regulation or legislation. Yet it is this rapid advancement creates better options at lower costs.

As our nation struggles to find a workable solution to the current health care crisis, technological advancements consistently present options that can increase systems thinking and efficiency, improve quality of care while driving down the cost of said care, and enable a more preventative approach.

A workable middle ground needs to be created between regulation and scientific advances. As a nation we desperately need it!

SOURCE: "Moore's Law and Health Care" 05/20/08
photo courtesy of Jurvetson, used under its Creative Commons license

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