Drew Madden has emerged over the last decade as one of the leading reformers within the American healthcare industry. As the longtime CEO of Nordic Consulting Partners, Madden has seen, first hand, the deep systemic problems that currently face the nation’s healthcare system. He has been a staunch fighter against the continuous and uncontrolled rise in healthcare prices nationwide while also fighting to improve the patient experience and, ultimately, the outcomes delivered by the nation’s doctors, hospitals and HMOs.
But one of the area’s where Madden has fought the hardest to effect change is in the relatively obscure realm of electronic hospital records. While most people don’t give a second thought to how their electronic medical records are being handled, Madden says that the efficient and effective handling of electronic hospital records is one of the key linchpins in the entire U.S. healthcare system.
Madden says that the United States, more than any other developed nation, has suffered from problems of interoperability between healthcare networks. This is not just a threat to the effectiveness of the healthcare delivered by the nation’s medical practices, but it is also a serious driver of overall costs. As an example, Madden talks about what would happen if someone from Wisconsin were to travel to Los Angeles and have a medical emergency. If that person had a heart issue and had also suffered from a long history of heart disease, it would be absolutely imperative that the patient’s medical records were able to be accessed by the attending physician in Los Angeles. Unfortuantely, says Madden, this is where things often break down.
If the hospital in Los Angeles doesn’t have access to the patient’s complete medical history, it is a certainty that they will need to reperform a large number of highly expensive tests to rule out other causes and zero in on a concrete diagnosis. In some cases, this can drive costs through the roof: costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars more than would otherwise be necessary.
Madden says that, like with commercial software platforms, cross-compatibility between healthcare networks is imperative.