Thursday, May 03, 2007

Intel's Andy Grove's Health Plan

Andy Grove co-founder of Intel has put forward his views on how to solve the health care problems brewing in the US.
He basically makes three suggestions:

First: Keep elderly people at home as long as possible (an idea he calls "shift left"). Use high-tech gadgets to help them remember to take their medicine and monitor their health. In one year, if a quarter of the people now living in nursing homes went home, it would save more than $12 billion, Grove says.

Second, Grove advocates addressing the uninsured by building more "retail clinics" -- basic health care centers in drugstores and other outlets that can take care of problems that are presently, and expensively, addressed in emergency rooms.

Lastly, unify medical records using the internet. In his vision, every patient carries a USB drive containing his or her medical records, which any doctor can download.

Each of these suggestions is at least sensibly focused on controlling health care costs and the provision of health care prior to it reaching the critical and costly hospital care stage. Having more of those people in managed care at home could be a good idea, but it does risk people falling through the cracks and would need to be monitored carefully.

However the last suggestion seems foolhardy, people are unlikely to all carry their own USB drive no matter how it seems that way in silicon valley or academia. A better idea would simply to have net accessible medical records stored on external servers which any health care professional could access and add to.