Health Informatics in the Cloud

Part of the series SpringerBriefs in Computer Science pp 1-8


Healthcare Delivery in the US

  • Mark L. BraunsteinAffiliated withSchool of Interactive Computing College of Computing
  • , Mark L. BraunsteinAffiliated withHealth Systems Institute for People and Technology Georgia Institute of Technology

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The United States has a uniquely complex and expensive healthcare system. We are alone among the industrialized countries in not having a “single payer” or at least a single entity responsible for making the rules. As a result, each individual health provider may have to deal with dozens of different health plans, each tailored by the patient’s employer to try to manage rising health costs. This complexity adds significantly to administrative costs which are estimated at 25-30% of spending. One study suggests that US administrative costs at 31% are proportionately nearly twice those in Canada. [1] Many studies show that we spend around twice as much on healthcare as compared to our peer nations. Yet we get relatively poor results, particularly for routine public health issues and for managing chronic diseases, the problems that affect most people and drive most healthcare costs. It is beyond the scope of this book to examine the merits of the various proposed solutions to these problems but the belief that it can help with them is the core rationale for federal funding of the deployment of health informatics.