The U.S. health industry is at a crossroads, with the correct turn possibly affecting the lives of countless Americans. Although the monopolization of health services has been a definite trend in recent years, personal entrepreneurship and individualized care could be the key to improving the nation’s medical industry. A third route involves a greater emphasis on technology in medicine, with entrepreneur Drew Madden playing an important role in this area.
It was only last year that CVS Pharmacy announced that it may purchase Aetna, the health insurance company, and electronic media giant Amazon reported plans to obtain pharmacy licenses so it could sell medical supplies and perhaps even medications. Both CVS and Amazon appear to be seeking virtual “ownership” of the health industry and the millions it serves. Such conglomerates could reduce choice when it comes to who provides the care, but in the process increase access to medical services.
Corporate domination of the health industry is a far cry from what medicine was at the turn of the 20th century, when most hospitals that existed in the United States had been created by religious organizations and still functioned without a profit motive. Changes in the system have been accompanied by great advances in medical care, but these have come with a dramatic rise in the cost of drugs and health services.
Some believe that the digital age, with the greater use of computerized records by medical providers, can greatly improve both the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Investment in the industry by individual entrepreneurs, who are today hampered by regulations and the sheer size of the industry, may be another answer. Observers also point to the need to improve end-of-life care to both reduce costs and personal suffering.
Drew Madden is one who believes in technological solutions to health problems. In his five years as president of Nordic Consulting, he saw his company expand from 10 to more than 700 employees. It was during this time that the company also received numerous awards for excellence in the field of health care information technology. He today serves as a managing partner in the IT firm Evergreen Healthcare Partners.