Being able to identify holes and flaws in a system is essential before trying to fix it. The American healthcare system is known for carrying a hefty price tag, but that’s not the only obstacle ahead.
Healthcare startup, Xcelrate UDI’s Founder and President Joan Melendez spoke to Authority magazine about her career's origins, and even more importantly, the things we must do to Improve the US Healthcare System.
How can healthtech help the healthcare system? Here are a few problems Joan identified, and some insight how their company is bridging this:
“Data integrity! Data is not shared. That’s a huge problem. We specialize in medical devices — so getting that data is critical.
“As well, though there is regulation, there is a lack of accountability. For instance, there are many regulations vendors have to cover. But with regard to patient care, there’s no oversight!
“We see how this operates recently, with curfews in areas hard-hit by COVID-19. You can have a curfew, but if there’s no consequences for breaking it, people will break it all the time.
“There are significant influences from medical device manufacturers. There are special interests, not focused on patient safety and more focused on their bottom line. When you have big manufacturers lobbying against regulations for patient safety, it makes our job difficult.
“Finally, there’s a lag in supporting education for medical practitioners. You need access to ongoing education around technology, which is always advancing. That’s where we’re bridging the gap for clinicians and administrators.
“It’s why we’re helping them to understand the regulations — we work on that a lot with our existing clients.”
As a strong patient advocate, Joan highlights a key issue within the healthcare industry: we should be teaching patients and staff how to fish, instead of handing it to them on a plate. Using ongoing awareness raising and education for both can help catch future problems before they've even been conceptualized.
Just as educators and healthcare professionals need to connect more, working in interoperability between healthcare staff on all fronts can create more informed conversation, and actions.
“Let’s say a patient has a medical device. It’s an implant leaking (eg. breast implant ruptured). What’s happening to her mental status? She’s suddenly being verbally abusive? There could be a connection, but we would not know. There’s no reporting.
“By the same token, in the USA, we can’t put in a lot of the mental health questions we’d like to include into health records. There is literally no form section where we could put it. We need to promote interoperability between mental and physical health.”
Having a rounded understanding of any industry is key when solving problems. Not only is Joan and her team aware of problems that patients face, but challenges healthcare staff battle with, and regulations & their implications. A holistic awareness of how the industry and other companies are progressing keeps them ahead of the curve.