Mobile Future

Tackling a health care crisis with wireless technology

A few months ago, President Obama sounded the alarm on our nation’s health care
crisis.  "The biggest threat to our nation’s balance sheet," he said, " is the
skyrocketing price of health care."
 
Millions
of Americans are all-too aware of how costly our dysfunctional health care
system has become. Today, half of all U.S. bankruptcies are the result of
medical expenses. Last year, an estimated 1.5 million families lost their homes
because of medical bills. Currently, health care accounts for $1 in every $6
spend in the U.S. — and costs are climbing at twice the rate of
inflation.
 
The problem of rising costs is clear. Fortunately, the search
for solutions is spurring innovative and creative thinking. It’s also driving
exciting collaboration between the medical and wireless industries.
 
One
example: medical providers and physicians are working with wireless technology
companies to reduce the costs and impact of chronic diseases.
 
Each year,
1.7 million Americans die of chronic disease. More than 133 millions Americans –
49% of our population – have at least one chronic disease.  Though seventy-five
cents of every health care dollar is spent treating chronic disease, these
conditions account for more that $1 trillion in lost productivity annually.
Tragically, less that 1% of total health care spending goes toward prevention of
chronic conditions.
 
Although these statistics are staggering, wireless
technology holds the potential for widespread change and significant
improvement.  More than 260 million Americans have mobile phones, which can be
used for remote monitoring of patients.  Monitoring those with chronic diseases
could save $197 billion in direct costs over the next 25 years by reducing
emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and the length of stays in
hospitals.
 
An exciting tool for change is already in the hands of most
Americans.  The mobile platform has the power connect doctors with patients and
to drive behavior changes and improved health monitoring. Mobile health care
will be one of many solutions necessary to address our growing health care
crisis and improve the lives of millions.