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The Obamacare Dilemma in One Infographic

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The future of Obamacare is uncertain, to say the least.

President-elect Donald Trump has consistently called to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act throughout his campaign, but many pundits see this as being a catch-22 for the incoming administration.

America’s healthcare system is already a global outlier (in a bad way), with disproportionate amounts of money being spent for very little return on life expectancy. For that reason, many people see the additional coverage of 20 million new people through Obamacare as a crucial step forward.

However, this new coverage hasn’t come without major challenges. Obamacare is plagued by soaring premiums, insurers leaving the program, and coverage monopolies in certain states. This puts America’s healthcare at an inflection point, and no one really seems to know how to solve it.

The Obamacare Dilemma

The following infographic from Healthgrad sums up the most recent metrics on Obamacare, as well as showing the double and triple digit rises in premiums that some states are facing.

The Obamacare Dilemma Infographic

As the infographic notes, the cost of healthcare has continued to escalate year after year, outpacing both inflation and wage growth. Obamacare has not been immune from this trend, and premiums are now being hiked because of low enrollment, mispriced plans, a dwindling pool of insurers, decreased competition in exchanges, and sicker patients than expected.

Despite only 25% of Americans supporting the outright repeal of Obamacare, it’s looking more and more likely that the healthcare system of tomorrow won’t look quite like it does today.

The Post-Obamacare Era

Right now, nobody knows quite what the future holds for U.S. healthcare.

Repealing or replacing Obamacare is fraught with at least six major issues, but perhaps the most significant one is a lack of decisiveness within the Republican party itself. What would Obamacare be replaced with, and how would that change be implemented?

Interestingly, there are at least seven Republican plans that have been tabled to replace Obamacare. Within that group, two of the more prominent ones come from Georgia Rep. Tom Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Tom Price, who is Trump’s pick as the incoming secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has already published his consumer-driven healthcare model, and it already exists in legal language. In additional, Paul Ryan released his own proposal in the form of the A Better Way plan earlier this year, which also touches on other issues such as poverty, national security, and the economy.

Despite the number of options, the problem is that no one can agree on a particular solution. The party is heavily divided, and Trump is already receiving heavy blowback from the Tea Party faction for telegraphing potential delays in repealing or replacing the act.

Yes, the future of U.S. healthcare is murky – even to Trump and the GOP. However, what is clear is that with most chips stacked in the Republicans favor over the coming years, it is unlikely that they will miss the opportunity to initiate the post-Obamacare era in some shape or form.

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Healthcare

Visualizing the Healthtech Revolution

From artificial intelligence to the Internet of Things, advances in healthtech are pushing the boundaries of the modern healthcare industry.

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Imagine being a patient in the early 19th century, when all ailments were considered “humors” to be ejected from the body. To restore balance, various techniques such as diets, natural herbs, or bloodletting with leeches were used – the only “technology” available at the time.

Even when the basic structure of modern medicine came into place, the average life expectancy was just 34 years old in 1913. A patient from that era would surely be amazed by the leaps and bounds that healthcare has undergone since then, thanks to the influence of technology.

The Healthtech Revolution

Today’s infographic dives into some of the technological advances that are pushing the boundaries of modern healthcare, and what this could mean for the sector.

The HealthTech Revolution

What is Healthtech?

Healthcare technology, or healthtech, is the use of technology to better treat patients. Many such inventions have been credited for saving countless human lives since the 1800s.

Medicines, devices, procedures, and even organizational systems contribute to expanding life expectancy and improvements in quality of life.

From Fiction to Reality

Breakthroughs such as robotic arms, 3D bio-printed organs, and virtual reality for pain relief are being developed in the medical sector, drawing influences from the big screen.

Technologies that were once the staple of science fiction movies are rapidly becoming realities.

— Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation Officer, Philips

But there’s a less tactile application of technology from science fiction that will arguably have an even bigger impact on healthcare: artificial intelligence (AI).

By recognizing patterns in behavior and creating their own logic, machine learning algorithms are set to transform various aspects of healthcare ranging from the automation of mundane tasks to the creation of entirely new drugs.

Healthcare at our Fingertips

Healthcare is also getting more mobile and connected, putting the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile health (mHealth) at center stage as sources of potential disruption.

These technologies can help in everything from offering patients a convenient way to book appointments and pay bills online, to allowing doctors to use electronic health records to access and share information.

Wearable devices and smartphone apps are spiking in adoption as they unlock the option to monitor and manage individual health anytime, anywhere. This is creating an explosion in personal health data, which consumers are willing to share with their doctor if it will benefit them or others.

The Coming Healthtech Boom

Artificial intelligence, IoT, and mHealth are contributing to rapidly expanding healthtech sector, and each are expected to experience rapid growth by 2025:

Healthcare segmentCurrent*Projected (2025E)CAGR
Artificial Intelligence$2.1 billion$36.1 billion50.2%
Global IoT$120.2 billion$543.3 billion20.2%
Global mHealth$4.16 billion$111.8 billion44.2%
*2018E for AI, 2017 for IoT, 2016 for mHealth.

While healthtech won’t replace your doctor anytime soon, but it will certainly change your experience with healthcare – both on the front-end and behind the scenes.

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5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

How are emerging technologies like nanomedicine or AI shaping the future of the healthcare industry? See five ways, in this infographic.

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5 Ways Tech is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

Whether it’s information-sharing between patients and doctors or aiding in a high-risk surgery, it’s clear that dynamic applications of technology are well underway in disrupting the healthcare industry.

TECH AT OUR FINGERTIPS

Today’s infographic from the Online Medical Care highlights healthcare areas where tech is breaking barriers. Here are five ways that technology is impacting the sector, ranging from AI to nanomedicine:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will have a dramatic impact on many industries, and healthcare is no exception.

A large share of healthcare executives are already applying artificial intelligence in their operations, with data showing plans to increase budgets last year.

Healthcare uses of AIAdoption (2017)Adoption (2018E)
Clinical decision support46%59%
Population health33%46%
Disease management29%42%
Re-admissions33%41%
Medical costs / health plan21%38%
Patient safety and quality25%33%
Supply chain management13%21%
Cancer care4%12%

As the technology becomes more developed and widespread, it’s expected that AI could help diagnose strokes, eye disease, heart disease, skin cancer, and other conditions.

Virtual Healthcare

Also known as telehealth or telemedicine, virtual healthcare allows patients and doctors to touch base remotely using technology such as video conferencing or mobile apps. Many patients are also becoming comfortable using wearable technology to monitor any changes in their health – and sharing that data with their physicians.

Convenience, ease of use, and travel times to their closest doctor are main reasons why patients choose virtual care. On the flip side, many are concerned about the quality of care, or fear a loss of a personal connection with a doctor.

If all patients chose virtual healthcare over face-to-face visits, it could save the U.S. health system $7 billion annually – while the time savings would “free up” the equivalent of 37,000 doctors.

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is rapidly evolving field which controls individual atoms and molecules at the extremely minute “nanoscale” of 1 to 100 nanometers. To put that into perspective, a single newspaper sheet is about 100,000 nm thick.

Nanomedicine is mainly used to effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent various diseases. Compared to conventional medicines, it’s much better at precise targeting and delivery systems, paving the way towards combating complex conditions such as cancer.

The global nanomedicine market could be worth over $350 billion by 2025.

Virtual Reality

Although it’s normally been associated with entertainment, virtual reality is making waves in healthcare as well. The multi-sensory, immersive experience that VR provides can benefit both physicians and patients:

  • Healthcare worker training
    VR can be used to train surgeons in a realistic and low-risk simulated environment.
  • Physical and mental health
    VR offers therapeutic potential and rehabilitation for acute pain and anxiety disorders.

VR is thus considered a cost-effective and efficient tool for both teaching and treatment, and the VR healthcare services market is expected to grow from $8.9 million in 2017 to an expected $285 million in 2022.

3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its debut, especially in its uses in the healthcare industry. The technology offers faster prototypes, creating everything from personalized prosthetics to “poly-pills” at a fraction of the cost.

The customizable aspect of 3D printing is revolutionizing organ transplants and tissue repair, and it’s even able to produce realistic skin for burn victims.

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Last but certainly not least, robotic surgery is sweeping through hospitals. It allows doctors to perform delicate and complex procedures that might be otherwise impossible.

Typically, surgeons control a device with a camera and mechanical arms, giving them a high-def view of the surgical site. According to the Mayo Clinic, this method generally:

  • Enhances precision, flexibility, and control
  • Comes with fewer complications such as infections
  • Results in less obvious scars as it is minimally invasive

While technological adoption into the medical field doesn’t come without challenges, the value is clear – and we’ve barely scratched the surface of tech-driven possibilities in the healthcare industry.

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