DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Health platform eases impact of rising costs - 5G auction could impact digital health - Cedar uses AI to improve payment process
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HEALTH BENEFITS PLATFORM INTEGRATES CLAIMS DATA TO IMPROVE RECOMMENDATION ACCURACY: Castlight Health, a US healthcare information company, has added a new feature to its Wellbeing Navigation app for employees that uses claims data to provide more accurate recommendations for health solutions. This means that when a user visits their doctor, the service will receive a provider-validated claims document for any illnesses their physician might have found, allowing for a more precise recommendation through the app.
The updated Wellbeing Navigation service could help employers deal with increasing healthcare costs by connecting users with a range of healthcare services. These include mHealth apps for illness monitoring and telehealth solutions, which can help to reduce unnecessary visits to the ER and help to encourage healthier lifestyles. For example, average healthcare costs for Castlight users at US grocery manufacturer Kraft fell 9%, according to a case study presented by Castlight.
Growing healthcare costs are a heavy burden for US businesses:
- US healthcare costs are rising at a phenomenal rate. Healthcare expenditures currently account for almost 20% of the US gross domestic product (GDP), and they're projected to reach 25% of the US GDP by 2025. For comparison, healthcare spend in the UK made up less than 10% of the GDP in 2015 - the most recent results available.
- Employers bear the brunt of rising healthcare costs. Employers contributed more than $13,000 per covered worker with a family health plan in 2017, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates. That's up about 60% from 2006.
- And that's unlikely to change. Eighty-nine percent of enterprises in the US believe that rising healthcare costs have become a crisis for US companies, according to a Forrester survey. Over 30% of those companies pinpoint healthcare cost management as a top human resources priority.
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FCC VOTE ON 5G AUCTIONS COULD IMPACT DIGITAL HEALTH: In April, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a plan to auction 28 GHz spectrum in November, according to POLITICO. The auctions were introduced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai during Mobile World Congress in March this year with the aim of making the bandwidths available for tech and telecom companies. The high-band spectrum will be integral to delivering 5G, the next wireless standard. The first auction will free up 28 GHz, and will be followed by a second auction to free up 24 GHz, according to a Medium post by Pai. Moreover, the spectrum auctions will be key in keeping the US at the forefront of 5G deployment, according to a joint statement by US House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden and Representative Marsha Blackburn. 5G will be a significant driver of growth in the healthcare sector. The higher speeds of 5G networks - possibly up to 12 times faster than 4G LTE - will be key to the broad adoption of technology beyond the capabilities of existing network capacities, such as remote surgery, high-fidelity virtual reality, and more reliable IoT for use in hospitals. Further, it will better support telehealth solutions, by providing stronger, more reliable network connections for a wider geographical area than 4G LTE can. Lastly, the network standard will also help usher in a new era of "personalized health care," in which massive volumes of patient data can be used to develop predictive analytics which can then be tailored to an individual patient and their illness.
MEDICAL BILLINGS PLATFORM CASE STUDY SHOWS STRENGTH OF MACHINE LEARNING: Cedar, a New York-based medical billing startup, released results from its partnership with specialty care group, Crystal Run Healthcare, that indicate a promising 2018 for the company as it moves ahead with expansion plans. After four months using Cedar's platform, Crystal Run significantly reduced its operating costs. Cedar achieved this by gathering patient data, including billing history, engagement level on different communication methods, and demographic information. It then uses this data and machine learning to give providers a smart billing solution with improved methods of communication and payment in order to engage patients. In addition to reduced costs, Crystal Run also reported an increased collections percentage, reduced collection time, and achieved a 95% patient satisfaction score. The case study shows similar results to earlier tests, as well. On average, providers using Cedar saw a 22% increase in billing collections, a 33% reduction in accounts receivable days, a 62% increase in self-serve payments, and 90% patient satisfaction. And given that patient payments represent 35% of revenue, personalized data-driven solutions like Cedar's that can help providers collect payments are likely to gain traction among the healthcare systems.
ISRAEL MOVES ON PLANS TO TURN COUNTRY INTO DIGITAL HEALTH HUB: The Israeli government approved the investment of NIS 1 billion ($295 million) in a 5-year plan to digitize the personal health records of nine million citizens. The plan, which was outlined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January, aims to stimulate and support research into personalized and preventative medicine, with a focus on the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems to facilitate analysis of Israel's population. Israel is a fast-growing digital health innovation hub in large part because of the government's efforts to drive and incentivize investments in the emerging field, according to a study published in The Lancet. The initiative could position Israel as a leader in digital health globally and serve as a bellwether for things like population health and national genomic sequencing systems. This would also put the country in a position to capture around 10% of the $6 trillion digital healthcare industry, Netanyahu says.
IN OTHER NEWS:
- A team of scientists in China has developed an AI system capable of identifying malignant prostate samples as accurately as pathologists, according to Digital Health. The system is another example of how AI can be utilized by the healthcare organizations to aid caregivers by providing clinical decision support and boosting efficiency and productivity.
- On Wednesday, Borderless Healthcare Group (BHG), a global health tech company, announced the launch of its BabySmart Digital TV Platform, a telehealth solution that aims to connect Australian fertility specialists in Melbourne and Sydney with Chinese and other international patients, remotely. The service, which operates via a smart TV, will open Australia's IVF market to countries and regions in need of fertility specialists.
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