‘The advantages of a more distributed health care system would be profound’
BOSTON – The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation believes that if it were up to technology alone, the idea of “health care without walls” would be a reality today.
The fact that it’s not proves there’s work to be done, which is why NEHI has formed the Health Care Without Walls Initiative.
“There are so many potential upsides to this idea that we thought we should get some people together and plan forward,” said Susan Dentzer, president and CEO of NEHI.
The HCWWI is based on the premise that advances in technology, like telehealth and remote patient monitoring, are already shifting health care outside of conventional clinical settings like hospitals and physician offices. Combined with innovations in population health, genomics and payment models, these changes could bring health care closer to individuals and address their needs where they are, organizers believe.
“The outcome could be a more efficient health care system, offering expanded access and lower costs,” said Dentzer.
As part of the initiative, NEHI formed several work groups in October, appointing experts from all areas of health care to develop policy recommendations and action plans. They will focus on five areas: technology, payment, regulatory issues, workforce, and human factors.
“This is a bunch of really engaged people who have been in the health care system for years and bear the scars of running up against the barriers to change,” Dentzer said.
The plan is for the groups to complete their work by mid-2018 and publish a number of white papers, then hopefully get some of their recommendations included in the policy process in Washington, D.C., and beyond.
“The advantages of a more distributed health care system would be profound,” said Dentzer. “We think by creating this vision of what’s doable, we can make change.”