Disrupting Health Systems
The accelerating pace of change in the health care system reverberates with promise, innovation, and venture capital. Much is rooted in technology — digital health records are being used in remote parts of the world; blockchains, with their novel approach to data sharing, shake up access to medical information; drugs get delivered by drones in Rwanda. Basic processes of care are being transformed too, with hospitals and community health systems caring for distant patients with remote-monitoring devices, entrepreneurs developing novel ways to purchase pharmaceuticals, and insurers considering how to pay for it all. New surveillance tools and social media speed the capacity to hotspot disease and pandemic outbreaks. Meanwhile, community health workers are assuming new responsibilities the world over, patients are becoming more engaged in decision making, and provider shortages are critical. The future of the Affordable Care Act — or any workable system — remains in doubt. What will all of this mean for our health?