Individualized Attention is the Key to Systemic Healthcare Change

By Shelby Cate

What is the path forward for health care in the US, when the complexity has grown exponentially? Larry Smarr hosted Glenn Snyder, Medical Technology Segment Leader and Michael E. Raynor, Director, Monitor, both of Deloitte, to talk about this and other issues facing the healthcare system.

According to Snyder, technology will likely help drive the simplification and more precise targeting of patients.

“There are a lot of situations where a patient is diagnosed with the specific condition, but the standard treatment doesn’t work for them” said Snyder.

With increased data collection, as well as rising interest in personalized medicine, it’s becoming possible to parse out how individuals will respond to treatment.

Raynor agreed, noting that even if the diagnosis is the same, a disease will be uniquely manifested in each individual and may need different treatment.  He said that with technology, “we are getting to the point that we can take individualized medicine seriously.”

One of the concerns, however, is the regulatory environment. Both Snyder and Raynor agreed it was a significant problem, but according to Snyder “there are some promising developments in the US” including the MACRA legislation passed earlier this year. The legislation is intended to shift physician incentives towards quality rather than the current fee for service system. Snyder also noted there there is a growing “willingness to experiment, collect data and figure out what works,” which may help drive systemic change.

All three panelists agreed that the key to relieving the burden on the healthcare system is by preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

“‘Patient’ implies they’re sick, but you want to treat the citizen so they don’t become a patient,” said Smarr.

He continued by asserting that chemotherapy clinics that are at full capacity, and that if cancer were prevented or detected earlier, less chemotherapy treatment would be needed.

“Whether it’s choosing a healthy lifestyle or if you have a chronic disease that you need to take a specific medication–compliance is our biggest issue,” said Snyder.

However, he was also hopeful that technology can provide some solutions to compliance by precisely targeting and messaging patients based on their individual tendencies.

“Reasons for lack of compliance are very different depending on the people,” he said. “There are different archetypes. For some it’s because of money, for others it’s because of memory. So we can get to be really targeted on how we influence behavior.” he said.
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