A new Washington DC think tank has the aim of lowering healthcare costs through the use of mobile technology. One particular aim is to see greater adoption of such technology by health insurers.
The newly established West Health Policy Center has five broad goals which includes the adoption of infrastructure independent care through the use of what the organisation describes as “smart technology” including mobile phone technology. Other goals are promoting price transparency, rational reimbursement, practical regulation and appropriate care regulation. The center claims to be the “only non-profit, non-partisan organisation with the single aim of lowering healthcare costs”.
The center is the latest mhealth-related project backed by Gary and Mary West (pictured) who set up the West Wireless Health Institute and then at the end of last year the US$100 million West Health Investment Fund.
According to The Washington Post, which spoke with the center’s chairman Don Casey, one of the organisation’s aims is to encourage health insurers to accept mobile health technology as a money saver for instance by the widespread use of remote monitoring. But most insurers have been reluctant to reimburse healthcare providers for using mobile health services, according to the article. The center wants to change thinking by employing researchers “to determine policy changes that would conceivably save at least US$1 billion annually in health care costs”.
Separately, the West Wireless Health Institute has launched a year-long study of an experimental wireless fetal monitoring device called Sense4Baby. The study is being conducted in Yucatan in Mexico jointly with the Carlos Slim Health Institute. The aim of the study is to establish whether the device can deliver good quality care for high-risk pregnancies at a lower cost than existing approaches. The cellular-enabled monitoring device was developed in 2010 by the West Wireless Health Institute.