HSR – What We Do, the Big Picture

Much of our discussions with people – whether with providers, payers, regulators, potential collaborators & fellow researchers, or just people we come across at networking events – revolve around a specific project we’re working on rather than the overall mission and vision of our firm.

I suppose that’s natural to some extent and several of those discussions have certainly proven beneficial. But a potential consequence, of course, is that we don’t convey the big picture of what we’re trying to do. So, this blog posts sets out to do just that – to communicate what we are trying to do at Health Solutions Research –

One thing we noticed when we launched HSR is that new medical treatments, procedures, or pharmaceutical drugs generally lead to better outcomes than the treatments they replace, and invariably cost more than the treatment options they replace.

While its critical to constantly advance the boundaries of medical science, such advancement tends to increase the cost of the US healthcare system.

So advancing medical technology is often counter to efforts to lower the cost of healthcare in America – which is our mission here at HSR.

To achieve that end, we identify and research cost-saving solutions from three broad areas (discussed below) and work with providers and payers to implement.

1. Operational Procedures

We look at developing new operational procedures and changing existing business practices within the healthcare industry that may lead to reduced costs. It’s possible that such operational changes may lead to improved outcomes as well. For instance, by changing how non-emergency medical transportation is performed and compensated, it may be possible for hospitals to reduce readmission rates while increasing & improving contact with patients. It is commonly accepted that reducing readmission rates can have a tremendous and positive effect on overall population health.

2. Technology

The information technology revolution that we seem to be in the midst of since the late 80’s has revolutionized the cost structure of nearly every industry. Healthcare, however, remains an exception. We’ve looked into the reasons why this may be (the subject of a later blog post) and believe we can assist bring technology’s wonders to healthcare. For instance, telemedicine has long been touted as a potential approach for increasing access to quality medical care in rural and underserved communities and digital imaging technology can be an important component of telemedicine. What specific technologies will this involve? How exactly will this work? What are the operational practices for physicians and providers to see patients via images, pictures – FaceTime? – and make a reliable and billable diagnosis? We are working towards fleshing this out.

3. New Treatments

While not a new drug, Cannabis is certainly new to the pharmaceutical market as it is being legalized for medicinal use at the state level. There is evidence to suggest that Cannabis can be effective against many ailments, including for the treatment of pain. Current treatments for pain include the use of opioids which are both expensive and highly addictive – leading to our nation’s current opioid epidemic. Can Cannabis be a potential replacement for opioids in the treatment of pain? We have designed and are planning to run clinical trials to assess Cannabis’ efficacy for pain and as a potential replacement for opioids. Cannabis will certainly be less expensive than opioids – and it will provide a double benefit if it can in any way help stem the spread of opioid addiction.

There are other things we do as well, such as help providers deal with cybersecurity issues involving protecting their electronic health records, and manage technology deployments, but the overall goal is to improve and broaden access to quality healthcare and reduce its costs through one – or all three – of these approaches. Wish us luck, and check back often for updates on our progress.

For further information on any of the efforts mentioned above, please contact Ajay Gupta at agupta@healthsolutionsresearch.org or Dawn Brown at dbrown@healthsolutionsresearch.org.

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