From Dr. Tom's Desk
Healthcare manufacturers are urging your patients to spend your money.
The Detroit Free Press recently editorialized that giving Medicare Advantage patients free blood pressure monitors would save insurers millions of dollars. Others have suggested continuous blood glucose monitoring improved outcomes for broad categories of diabetics. Even the Apple watch has succeeded in getting FDA approval for its heart monitor.
More is not better. Beware of research that suggests it is. It’s probably no more than paid PR.
This is not the government’s money these organizations are suggesting to spend---it’s yours. Out of your Medicare Advantage contract.
Could more intensive monitoring help improve outcomes in specific patients? Possibly.
Should you innovate closer and tighter observation with select patients? Certainly---especially those who are costing you the most money in the form of higher expenses. They offer the opportunity for the greatest return on such an investment.
Will applying such intensive monitoring across your entire patient population without long term outcome and cost-benefit data improve your performance? Never. Such interventions benefit only one group---those who make the technology.
Remember, if you share in financial risk you’re the insurer now. It’s your money.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t innovate, just do it wisely, tailored to the patients that your primes know so well. Best practice is from the bottom up. Your organization can offer the technology but leave it to your clinicians to decide how to most effectively implement it. Top down “initiatives” may look good to your boss and the board, but they rarely generate any real value.