athenahealth's Jonathan Bush: 4 ways to 'unbreak' healthcare

athenahealth's Jonathan Bush: 4 ways to 'unbreak' healthcare

It isn't the universal coverage demanded by the Affordable Care Act that is detrimental to healthcare; rather, it's the misaligned incentives, inefficiencies and regulations that restrict market dynamics, according to Jonathan Bush, co-founder and CEO of athenahealth.

"If we limit the national discussion to access [to healthcare], we will fail to come to terms with how fundamentally broken healthcare really is, and what it will take to fix it," Mr. Bush wrote in a contributed Forbes piece.

athenahealth recently launched a new Unbreak campaign, trying to fix key problem areas of the industry, and in his contributed piece, Mr. Bush outlines a four-step plan to overcome its burdens.

1. Encourage disruption. Innovation is key to disruption, but Mr. Bush writes there is an overabundance of laws and regulations that, though created with good intentions, are stifling. He mentions laws prohibiting telemedicine coverage across state lines as one of those restrictive rules.

2. Connect information. "Beyond disruption, to unbreak healthcare we need to share information across all corners of healthcare — in real time — as effectively as we are able to share information on Facebook, Kayak or Uber," Mr. Bush wrote. While the majority of providers are digital, too few are efficiently or effectively sharing information, according to Mr. Bush, who wrote this could be eased if it were legal to compensate for the cost of sharing information, similar to how banks charge fees for ATM transactions.

3. Align incentives with outcomes. Value-based reimbursement models are becoming the standard in healthcare, but it's happening at too slow a pace. Providers working within this "flipped" model, Mr. Bush wrote, "today only occupy small corners of the market where trailblazers are partnering to offer patients easy access to high quality, affordable and convenient care — whether that's urgent care clinics or low-cost ambulatory surgery centers."

4. Restore humanity. Mr. Bush wrote the rules and regulations within healthcare today have detracted from patient care, minimizing the humanity of it. "Healthcare has been digitized, but it's come at the expense of being consumer-friendly," Mr. Bush wrote. "We need to unbreak this reality so we can be more connected to each other."

More articles on athenahealth:

Epic requests lower award in Tata case; Cerner claims largest EMR market share; athenahealth adds former Amazon CFO to board — 11 health IT key notes 
Jonathan Bush responds to John Oliver's $15M medical debt forgiveness 
'Rhetoric over substance': Why athenahealth won't participate in ONC's transparency attestation 

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