One of the significant costs many Americans experience is the medical care bill, which has consistently been on the rise since 2013, according to the CNN. A high percentage of many employees' take-home pay actually goes back to medical care as a copayment, coinsurance, and health care deductibles.
The problem with medical bills is that their occurrence and amount can never be predicted. As such, things, such as health insurance, will for unforeseeable future remain a norm in the life of the average American that wants to avoid Obamacare penalty. But with the growth of technology, digital therapeutics are becoming popular options for treating and preventing chronic diseases.
The question is, can such medical devices help curb the rise in healthcare costs? Read on to learn more.
Point-of-Care Testing (POCT)
With the upturn of medical devices, patients do not need to visit hospitals and clinics for certain checkups and tests. Point-of-Care Testing (POCT) or bedside testing has allowed them to get tested at the site where treatment or care is provided. This has decreased the time it takes for patients to obtain their results.
Typically, the test sample is analyzed on the bench within the clinic. In this case, the doctor doesn't need to send the test sample to a lab away from the clinic. What this has done is eliminating the role of the lab technician and other supporting staff, which can help to reduce healthcare costs for patients.
Even though there are no significant savings with the use of bedside testing, it has eliminated the labor associated with the involvement of medical staff. Medical devices have helped to shorten the time for treatment and, in turn, eliminating the miscellaneous costs involved in extended treatment periods.
A great example of POCT devices are the blood glucose monitoring systems for people who have diabetes and the portable HIV test device. In diabetes care, patients use the device at home to measure the glucose level in their blood. This helps them to adjust their insulin doses and make sound decisions about their food and exercises.
Access Treatment at Home
With medical devices, patients may not need to visit clinics and health care centers for specific treatments. The average cost of a three-day hospital stay in the US is around $30,000. Even though having coverage can help to lower such costs, they're still hefty for the average American family.
With technologies such as telehealth and data collection via mobile apps, it's possible to implement medical devices right in the home of patients. However, the initial costs of home-based systems are usually high. The good thing is that you can avoid the exorbitant recurring costs of hospital stays. You also avoid the costs that come with ambulance trips, which can range between $400 to $1,200 for out-pocket payment.
Some health services can also be offered through mobile apps, and this helps to reduce the cost of developing new medical devices. Wearables are also becoming great devices for monitoring an individual's health, especially in the fitness industry. However, many patients are reluctant to use them for medical purposes due to the safety of the collected data.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Technologies, such as e-health, have allowed health professionals to monitor the health of their patients from a distance. In this case, patients use smart sensing medical devices that have several features, including analytics, storage, data processing, and easy-to-use interfaces. These technologies help to reduce the cost of healthcare by reducing office visit and improving patient compliance.
For example, Senseonics has developed a continuous glucose monitoring system that allows patients keep track of their glucose levels for up to 90 days. The system comes with an implantable sensor, rechargeable smart transmitter, and a mobile app. With this medical device, a patient's glucose level is monitored remotely every few minutes, and it sends alerts to both the physician and patient about a possible hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
Another tremendous medical device is the PF 100 monitor by Microlife for asthma patients. This device measures the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Patients can then transfer their data to their Pc and analyze with a special analyzer software. This helps them to understand their respiratory profile better.
Medical devices are simply advancing disease prevention thus helping patients to understand their symptoms better for improved treatment and care. You can take the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor as a good example. This monitor has no cables, and you can easily connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can set it to take three readings in one session and then it gives you an average. This is a great device for people who are concerned about their blood pressure.
Patients can also use the Kito+ device, which measures ECD data, respiration rate, skin temperature, blood oxygen and HR. This device is for iPhone users, and they can easily see the results of the test on their screen. With this device, you can detect an abnormal heart rhythm and seek medical assistance early enough to prevent any potential heart condition.
Medical devices are indeed resourceful when it comes to lowering the cost of healthcare. Still, more technologies strive to enhance health service and make patients more aware of their health conditions. For example, insert molding process for the medical industry allows for the proper design of metal or plastic components to ensure quality medical devices. Looking into the future, patients should expect improved devices and systems that will actually help them stay on top of their conditions.