Your reaction to this headline might reveal your feelings toward the passage of healthcare reform. You might see reform as increasing the number of potential patients that could be prescribed your company’s drug or treated with your company’s medical device—or you could be dreading the costs to your company to help pay for this reform.
Regardless of whether you are excited or worried, you have an opportunity to help your company focus on what is needed to serve these incoming patients: innovation.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), AdvaMed, and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) are all concerned about reform’s potential threat to product innovation. Their concerns are valid, given the drug industry’s subsidies and the medical device tax.
But there could be increased demand for innovation. Change is so desperately needed to improve patient adherence with prescribed regimens, shorten hospital stays and reduce hospital-acquired infections, and reduce medical errors both at home and in hospitals and clinics. With so many more patients to serve, how could healthcare decision-makers possibly reject your innovations that save lives, save steps, save time, and save money?
Case in point: a few weeks ago we shared news of a Loyola University study showing that injection-related troubles could prompt patients with diabetes to skip insulin injections. The potential complications of routinely skipping insulin therapy could one day be devastating, both to patients and to the healthcare system. According to the American Diabetes Association, uncontrolled diabetes could result in blindness, amputation, heart disease, and kidney failure. Innovations that ease self injection could hold tremendous benefit for both patient and payer.
Interestingly enough, the American Diabetes Association is celebrating reform. It issued this statement posted to its Web site: “Today is a day for celebration for the 23.6 million American children and adults who are living with diabetes. The passage of health reform by the House of Representatives finally tears down the wall that keeps people with diabetes from the health care they need,” read the comment from Nash Childs, PE, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. “With the passage of health reform ‘just because you have diabetes’ will no longer be a lawful excuse to deny coverage, to charge exorbitant rates, or to take away care just when a person with diabetes needs it most.”
Don’t let reform scare you from innovation. Next-generation technologies will be needed for the healthcare system to effectively manage the health of 32 million new patients.