Technology changes that could change cardiovascular health care

Imagine in the future you have a heart problem for the rest of your life you will most likely need  periodic medical management of issues related to this problem. Monitoring of heart issues is incredibly costly.

Traditional tests include:

  • holter monitoring   $1000 .
  • event montiroring  $660-$2000
  • EKG $1450
  • echocardiograms $1500, TEE $3700
  • stress tests $6000
  • cardiac catheterizations $2,400 to $4000
  • ICD  is in the range of $30,000 to $40,000
  • Cardiac Stent  $11,000 -$41,000
  • Heart Attack:  average cost of a less severe heart attack is about $760,000.
  • Open heart surgery average cost $100,000
  • Coumadin INR laboratory cost $6.19 to $145.70.
  • Hemoglobin A1c $50-$70

You can see how the cost of heart disease could ruin one financially overnight, or slowly over the years.

In the U.S., all cardiovascular disease costs $273 billion each year, including heart conditions, stroke, peripheral artery disease, and high blood pressure. Projections show that the direct costs of cardiovascular disease will triple in the next 20 years, rising to $818 billion. In fact, of all the money spent in the U.S. on health care, 17% goes toward treating cardiovascular disease. Heart conditions such as heart failure, heart attack, bypasses, etc., account for nearly $96 billion of that total.

One study estimated that over the course of a person’s lifetime, the cost of severe coronary artery disease — the most common form of heart disease — is more than $1 million. U.S. is paying $878 per year for the societal costs of heart disease.

Now consider the technology that  you could do yourself at significantly lower costs as you now own the tools and send the results directly to your healthcare provider. Cost saving occur through limiting laboratory staff and equipment use, cutting out the insurance provider  who adds to the cost of care, quicker data collection and decreased cost of data management -moving reports around to get to provider and patient.

Could the tools that are being developed today, get to the hands of the patient and provide a new mechanism of the delivery of health? Often the little nagging symptoms can be the ones that nickel and dime one through their financial resources. The tools below are newly developed and the cost to own are significantly less than the cost of the machines and laboratory  equipment that each physicians office, hospital, health care setting must own, maintain, calibrate, keep up with government standards, etc….you see the cost associated. What if with a heart problem the necessary tools were packaged and sold to the individual and then the individual and the healthcare provider have compatible  IT platform, could that transform how our healthcare system works? Is this remote telemetry and monitoring the answer for rural patients who have long commutes to reach physician specialists?Coag-Sense Self Test PT/INR Monitoring System 

Is it possible that a day in our not to distant future, we will be able to run the appropriate diagnostic scans on ourselves, send the data and concerns to our healthcare practitioner who will then begin any further medical management necessitated by the data. I have watched patients go through so many tests which don’t capture the symptoms they have because they are intermittent, they come and go. If someone doesn’t have insurance they often forgo testing. However the future may allow one to better manage cost of their health care through internet and technological resources such as those listed above. We may find a way to monitor our own symptoms  transmit the pertinent data, which then drives the course of medical care, and cuts out the middle man – hospitals, laboratories, the cost of overhead, administration, paperwork, bureaucracy. Changes like this need to happen as our healthcare spending in the United States is out of control.

In the mean time until this industry takes off here are some apps you can use now to track health and wellness. The products above are currently available as well, but may be difficult to purchase as a general consumer and the likelihood your healthcare practitioner has compatible IT technology is unlikely. Guide: How to Track Health & Fitness Online