December 6, 2013

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Healthcare

December 6, 2013

Who are the big players in this? It’s going to be the insurers, because the insurers are going to reduce their costs and improve the overall health of their population, so they need to partner with these groups that produce games and apps.

Additionally, can we not focus on not getting bigger and better and more expensive technologies, but can we find technologies that are less expensive, that are going to drive down healthcare costs but still have a viable market. That is where we’re putting a lot of our emphasis right now.          

SPERRY: I started out at a very enthusiastic level relating to personalized medicine as we decoded the human genome. Because it just didn’t seem to have applications in motion. Over time I kind of fell off the curve. But I had a resurgence recently because the cost of sequencing DNA is plummeting. You can now get your genome completely determined for a relatively inexpensive amount of money.

When your genome is compared against the genetic components of people who were parts of clinical trials—data that now have to be deposited in a public repository if you are funded by the federal government—we soon will be able to tell what patients will respond to certain medicines and which ones won’t, and which ones will actually have an adverse reaction.

So the very near future, at least in terms of applying genome to pharmaceutical prescriptions, is looking actually quite bright.

WEBB: As a radiologist, we’ve traditionally been known as doctors’ doctors. In other words, our interactions have been most frequently with referring physicians. But we’re finding that increasingly patients want information directly from us and they want it in a timely manner, sometimes faster than they can make follow-on appointments with their referring physicians.

So we’ve seen value in some of the technology solutions with internet-based patient portals that allow patients to access their imaging and healthcare information and become more personally engaged. We’ve actually started a service that allows direct consultation with patients and a radiologist to ask questions about their imaging exams, and we’ve gotten a good response to that.

There are apps out there that allow patients to become educated with respect to reasonable costs. One that comes to mind is Healthcare Blue Book. It’s both an internet website and an app for Android and Apple phones. And it allows patients to enter a service, a ZIP code, and that app will give them a reasonable cost for that service, giving the patient some idea as to what they might expect to pay as they try to search for the appropriate site and provider for their care. 

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