With the controversial healthcare reform law dubbed “Obamacare” being upheld by the Supreme Court this morning in a 5-4 ruling, Mitch Rothschild, CEO of Vitals, shared his thoughts on the implications of this bill for patients and doctors in the short and long terms:
In the short term:
The new law now calls for all Americans to purchase health insurance, meaning the 30 million Americans who are currently uninsured will soon be seeking care from doctors who were already spread thin with far fewer patients. Rothschild explained:
“This flood of new demand will inevitably cause a major disruption to the system. For the unchanging supply of doctors, it will mean less time to spend with patients in examination rooms and with follow-up care. For patients, it will mean appointments will become harder to schedule and wait times longer.”
In the long term:
How will our healthcare system rise to meet the challenge? According to Rothschild:
“Nurse Practitioners and Physician Associates will take on a more important role in diagnosing and treating patients. Retail clinics will become the norm for routine care. Even medical tourism is likely to see a boon as patients plan vacations around treatments abroad, rather than wait for openings in a surgeon’s tight schedule.”
Rothschild believes the reform will improve quality of care over time:
“(The law) will also necessitate that everyone in healthcare begin to remedy the inefficiencies that have been part of the system for too long. Technology will need to play a greater role in every facet of care, whether through simple, time-efficient email consults between patients and doctors, or more complex robotic surgeries performed in efficient assembly line sequence from remote locations.”
With what he believes are inevitable improvements in efficiency and technology that will come about from healthcare reform, Rothschild predicts better results for patients:
“Accountable care organizations will be required to adhere to best practices in medicine and it will be hard for doctors to stick with treatment regimens that defy statistics on best outcomes. This is a win for patients since it promotes responsible, thoughtful medicine.”
To read Rothschild’s full statement, click here.
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