[Healthcare] IT key to sustainable health insurance system
Korea, the third largest economy in the Asia-Pacific region and the 11th largest in the world, has the opportunity to become a leading contributor to progress and growth of the healthcare industry. Benefiting from high quality local healthcare services, a leading IT infrastructure, an excellent record in clinical research and growing investments in medical tourism, Korea has a unique opportunity to take the lead in demonstrating the benefits of technology convergence for cost-effective high-quality care.
To take the lead, however, we need to mobilize around a common vision and start the journey toward solving the challenges we are facing.
As we all know, Koreans benefit from an enviable health insurance system widely recognized for its performance and quality. The government, however, projects national healthcare expenditures could triple to 256 trillion won by 2020 driven, in part, by the aging of our population, a steady increase in the incidence of chronic diseases and greater demand for better and more care. The compounded effect of these factors leads to an increasingly alarming deficit in medical insurance funds which isn’t expected to improve in the foreseeable future.
To ensure the sustainability and viability of our leading health system, it is imperative to focus our attention on enhancing its efficiency. A single-minded focus on the patient and the experience and effectiveness of the continuum of care he or she receives is at the root of the solution.
Throughout a single episode or their lifetime, patients interact with a dizzying number of medical, administrative, laboratory, pharmaceutical, insurance and technology providers. Throughout these interactions, they experience significant variance in practices which lead to quality, cost and access inefficiencies. In addition to the waste incurred, these have a significant impact on the health, financial and emotional wellness of the patient and their families.
Due to the vast complexity of this system, manual approaches and single institution strategies have limited impact. Among the solutions that can help, Healthcare IT offers the opportunity to significantly improve the integration, sharing and visibility across this extremely complex national health infrastructure.
Among their many strengths, IT solutions help to manage medical records and individually-accumulated data scattered across different clinical institutions, so that it can be shared among hospitals, physicians, and patients, thereby providing authorized personnel access to relevant information regardless of time or space.
Accordingly, Healthcare IT can significantly help enhance the efficiency, among others, of chronic disease management, emergency treatment, telemedicine, consultation arrangement, and collaborative treatment, which will ultimately lead to the delivery of cost effective quality medical services.
With its world-class IT infrastructure and its cluster of leading clinical and technology leaders, Korea is ideally positioned to successfully introduce these solutions. Furthermore, on the robust establishment of a domestic best practice, these solutions would become a new global growth engine.
Now is the time to take on this challenge, and we are confident GE Healthcare’s global experience, talent and solutions will be key assets in positioning Korea as a leader in delivering the best quality care at the most effective cost.
GE sees our mission as taking on the toughest challenges humanity faces and finding solutions to them. Healthcare is one of the toughest challenges we can see.
We began a global strategy called “healthymagination,” which aims to reduce costs and improve quality and access. To make this happen, we have committed $6 billion over six years to develop products and services that address these challenges.
Laurent Rotival is president & CEO of GE Healthcare Korea.