Health Care Affordability Begins With You (And Ends With Apple, Microsoft, Google And Amazon), by Dr. Josh Luke

I just finished penning this article for Forbes, and there it was, a headline on LinkedIn confirming my exact point: “Apple Moving Deeper Into Healthcare.” And, just a few days later, Amazon announced a health care collaborationwith JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

“Bingo!” I thought: same topic, new headline. So here is the edited version.

You see, Big EMR controls health care as we know it today. Who is Big EMR? It’s a minute number of dynamic medical record companies that control more than 50% of all hospitals patient electronic medical records.

Hold on — did I just say that hospitals control patients’ records, meaning your personal records and your employees’ personal records? Yes. Absolutely, they do. Herein lies problem number one.

Hospitals control your employees’ personal medical records. Big EMR controls the hospitals. So, when your employees want their health records, how do they get access?

They have to ask permission. Herein lies problem number two.

Why doesn’t the patient own his or her own personal medical record? The answer is this: The hospital has always been the center of the health care universe — the power player. Hospitals have not ever been held accountable, as they have one of the largest lobbying organizations in the country. Hospitals have been so egregious in not being transparent, they often won’t even share prices with you in advance of your procedures or surgery. It’s reverse capitalism, and they have gotten away with it.

They actually charge a fee and make the patient wait several days, as they have to “make copies.”

So, how do we transform into a place where patients actually own their own personal medical records? I am so glad you asked.

The individual must take control of the process. But how? The hospitals have no incentive to speed up this process. In fact, the hospital business model as a whole is under pressure and at risk as a result of reimbursement changes that came along with Obamacare — and, now, Obamacare scalebacks.

But, hospital leadership behaviors have not changed — and will not. Big EMR will continue to wag the dog (the dog being the hospital, in this case). Thus, as a result, there are two things that need to happen to reverse this trend.

One, become an EHC. Yes, you — become an Engaged Healthcare Consumer, and your employees will follow. And, make sure you create a healthy culture so your employees who decide to be EHCs are surrounded with the resources and knowledge to make healthy lifestyle decisions.

You shop for houses. You shop for cars. Why don’t you shop for health care? Engage in the process, choose providers who are high quality and offer transparent pricing, and your company costs will come down — as will the costs for your employees who choose wisely and engage.

So, where do Apple, Microsoft, Google (that is, Alphabet) and Amazon come in?

There are only a few companies globally that are powerful enough to dethrone the influence Big EMR has over hospitals. And, they are all listed in the sentence above. Well, you might add Facebook as well, but my money would be on Apple, Microsoft or Amazon, as they each have a track record of putting valuable technology in the hand of the consumer. And, yes, we are consumers of health care.

Why is this? Because they are more influential than Big EMR. They put technology in your hands. They have the capability to give you ownership. They have the ability to make a power play on Big EMR by just doing what they do: delivering information

As complicated as it may seem, there is a simple formula. You become an EHC. Then, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and/or Amazon gives you access to your personal medical record — and Big EMR loses its power and influence over hospitals.

It’s a simple equation: You engage; Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon provide you access. We all win. And winning means owning our own personal medical records, which is how it should have been from the start. It’s about time.