King of medical IT space, Drew Madden, discusses how to fix bloat-ravaged healthcare system

Drew Madden has dedicated his life to helping hospitals and other medical services providers to streamline and digitize their processes, delivering more effective and less costly medical care as a result. But after years in the trenches, seeing, first hand, the waste and bloat that characterizes the clumsy U.S. healthcare system, Madden decided that he needed to scrap everything he was working on a build his own consultancy firm from the ground up.

The result was Evergreen Healthcare Partners, a healthcare IT consultancy dedicated to helping shape medical technologies and the healthcare professionals that use it into a finely oiled machine that is capable of delivering world-class medical care. The fundamental problem in the way that the medical technology field was approaching its duties, according to Madden, had long been that it was so tech-centric that it failed to note the most important cogs in the healthcare machine: the people who deliver the care.

Drew Madden realized that the scope and effectiveness of the software solutions available to medical practices had effectively reached a level where further improvement was no longer necessary by the late 2000s. What Madden identified as being two of the most pressing concerns for the future of U.S. healthcare were the user interfaces and overall user experience between medical software and medical professionals as well as the total elimination of cross-system compatibility issues.

The only area where Madden sees further improvement in the capabilities of medical technology itself is in the area of consumer-facing intelligence platforms. Madden likes to quip that it is orders of magnitude easier to make an informed decision about where to get a hamburger than it is about where to get hip replacement surgery. He cites real-world examples where a given surgery costs $30,000 in one location and precisely the same operation, at a facility just a few miles away, costs over $70,000. He says that if market inefficiencies this gaping existed in literally any other market, they would quickly be arbitraged away within hours. But the U.S. medical field is so oblique and byzantine that $40,000 differences in price over a few miles not only exist, they are, in fact, common.

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