With the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its functional stages, certain things are becoming clear with regards to the healthcare industry. Among them is the impact of the ACA on the notion of preventive care–an extremely important area within healthcare in terms of not only cost, but also the health of the individual.
Simple examples of preventive care in the status quo are screening and monitoring tests. BRCA tests for women allow early detection of breast cancer, which has a huge positive impact on the cost of treatment as well as the quality of life for the patient. The same principle applies to patients of diabetes and their glucose monitoring diagnostics.
Relation with Medical Device Market
The first evidence for ACA impacting preventive care can be seen with its financial impact on the medical device market. As per a recent analysis, the Act is going to boost the market by at least $10 billion in the coming four years, indicating a paradigm shift.
The reason for this is that the ACA is shifting hospitals and doctors away from fee-for-service medicine model to that of a predictive model. The predictive model has more value of care. The Act is bringing free preventive care on the table, and the cost effective nature of modern diagnostics is an added advantage.
Innovation in the market can be seen at multiple levels which the ACA is trying to utilize. On one level we have genetic diagnostics for preemptive therapies from the likes of 23andMe, and then there is innovation in conventional monitoring devices.
Dexcom is emerging as a thought leader when it comes to diabetes diagnostics. Innovations such as continuous glucose monitoring, which can be coupled with smartphone apps, help not only in regular monitoring, but also intelligent assimilation of patient data. The patient data can be assessed by the physician to implement appropriate therapies.
ACA's improved coverage
The efficacy of ACA can be seen in action with the Medicare plan for healthcare coverage. The Part D coverage plan of ACA is the one which makes routine screening tests free of cost. The range of screening tests is pretty extensive, including pap smears, which are used for detection of prostate cancer.
A recent study conducted at the University of California Davis indicates that the ACA helps to prioritize preventive care, reducing risky behaviors prevalent within the population. They correlated screening tests and the impact that insurance coverage would have on it. Furthermore, the mandatory nature of ACA helps in making the improvement realistic.
Another important benefit that most people do not realize as yet is the abundance of diagnostic data that would be created due to the screening tests. The ACA and the US Open Government Initiative have resulted in an unprecedented surge of data that can be readily assimilated by researchers.
An existing benefit of this in the status quo is that of a formation of a database under Project TychoTM, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. The database is gathering screening and health data, which would allow early detection of contagious diseases as well as a better understand disease models.
Based on the information provided above, people can make use of ACA to have screening tests and improve their quality of health care without incurring extra costs to pay for it.