Medical Care’s Dual Reality: Improving But Also Failing

May 02, 2017

The state of medical care in the U.S. is a classic good news/bad news situation. On the one hand, innovation, particularly in the developed world, makes for bold progress. At the same time, costs can’t help but go up. “We are making progress, but it’s not fast enough,” says Steven Corwin, CEO of New York Presbyterian, the hospital system.

Corwin spoke Tuesday at the beginning of Fortune Brainstorm Health, the second annual event in San Diego devoted to the intersection of health care and information technology. Corwin found plenty about which to be optimistic.

Telemedicine, for example, is lowering costs in a meaningful way while improving quality. Treatment of strokes has improved dramatically, he says, when paramedics or emergency-room physicians can communicate with stroke specialists. Reviewing patients remotely also has succeeded in lowering time spent in emergency rooms.

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There’s plenty to be pessimistic about as well, particularly around the state of health insurance. Corwin notes that in some states Medicaid doesn’t kick in until a family makes less than $6,000 a year. “No one will get preventative medicine at that rate,” he said.

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