Medical Economics, or we have no idea where we are going

Health care market failures and suffers losses for various reasons. Obamacare USA caused several of the largest medical insurance companies to report a cumulative loss of one and a half billion dollars. Market giants such as UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, Humana have announced a reduction or suspension of their participation in the programme for 2017.

Obamacare was founded with good intentions: to make available medical care for those who could not afford unsubsidized insurance. At the same time, the insurance companies expenses exceeded their own forecasts by 22%. Partially insurance budgets excess is associated with the need to clarify individual diagnoses, based on their high market value. Also, overruns can occur due to treatment with inaccurate diagnostics, which requires therapeutic regimens correction and, as a result, increases the final cost.

It could be generally concluded that:

  • Quality medical care is not available now and it will not be available to many in the next 5—10 years, including developed countries in Europe and America due to high prices;
  • High—quality diagnostics remains expensive and inaccessible, it is based on factors that reduce its effectiveness: the human factor, the inaccessibility of digital knowledge bases in developing countries, the insufficient level of training of individual specialists;
  • Monthly doctors salaries vary greatly in different countries.

Table 1 presents the average wages in the industry.

Table 1
Сountry Salary per month, USD
US 10,000—14,000
Germany 5000—6000
Russia 300-450
Ukraine 200—300

Taking into account this wages that are approximately given above, as well as the fact that in many countries only a small percentage of GDP is allocated to health care and to diagnostics and treatment modernization, the most disappointing forecast can be made. It seems that for developed countries, as before, the main health care problem will be the need for industry over-financing, and for developing countries the main issues will be the low doctors qualifications and uneven access to modern diagnostic methods.

Due to the lack of solutions to this problem, the number of cases and deaths is growing in almost every country. According to the WHO, a cancer patients growth is increasing at different rates in different countries. At the same time, the countries of Europe and North America have achieved outstanding results in the diagnosis and treatment of certain cancer types and have been able to increase the patient survival percentage significantly over the last 10—15 years.

Economic state losses consist of two components: the necessary costs for the specific nosology prevention, its diagnosis, treatment, and financial losses from diseased citizens who could no longer contribute to the economy. And if many people continue going to work when sick, the cancer pathologies treatment in particular takes considerable time, and the prognosis for recovery is not always positive. What steps can be taken today and what will be the answer to this difficult reality challenge. Reforming medicine and increasing financing in developing countries will be confronted with bureaucracy and bribery, and in developed countries it will be impossible to increase funding, as can be seen from the data above.

That issue can not be solved quickly and completely, but some improvements are available today. Digital medical technologies, in particular neural networks, have a number of positive characteristics:

  • Do not require constant financial expenses;
  • Reduce the human factor influence in the diagnosis;
  • Standardize the obtained indicators and are able to improve their analysis through training, due to flexibility;
  • Reduce the time spent on diagnosis, and therefore the material costs of the medical institution;
  • Can be a powerful knowledge base for doctors from developing countries with low technological equipment.

Of course, the neural networks capabilities are not limitless, but great. We have written about their medical diagnostics capabilities in other materials and we would like to hope that humanity will be open—minded to getting a new, unique experience with modern technologies.

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