The 128-Byte Data Field That Could Save Lives And Billions Of Dollars

Dan Munro | Forbes | March 25, 2013

I can easily think of 5 articles that highlight the extraordinary waste and cost of the U.S. healthcare system.

  1. To Err Is Human (Institute of Medicine – November, 1999)
  2. The Price of Excess – © 2008 (PricewaterhouseCoopers – free but registration required)
  3. USA, Inc. (Mary Meeker – KPCB – February, 2011)
  4. Best Care at Lower Cost (Institute of Medicine – September, 2012)
  5. Bitter Pill (Steven Brill – now exclusive to Time subscribers – February, 2013)

The PwC report concluded that about $1.2 trillion was wasted – each year. Here’s how PwC further categorized that waste:

A primary mechanism for bringing efficiency into this antiquated system continues to be the drive to electronic health records – or EHR’s. As of last month the Federal Government (acting on our behalf of course) has spent over $12 billion on EHR deployment nationally – and we’re not done. Many consider the EHR Incentive Program (as legislated by the HITECH Act) to be the single most foundational element of healthcare reform. Nowhere, it seems, is data more critical or so lacking in it’s capture, management and exchange than in healthcare.