By: Mick Raich, President, RCM Consulting, Lighthouse Lab Services / Vachette Pathology
I like to look at health care like my old computer. There is a software side and a hardware side. The software to me, is the vaccines, drugs and treatments of a disease. The hardware is the tests and diagnostic tools.
Now, let us take this analogy to the Covid crisis. It can be argued we have made a huge leap forward in the software side; we have numerous vaccines, some great current drug treatments and some spectacular drugs in trials. The software side is progressing nicely, and in ten years we will look back at these progressions as a revolutionary step forward. In ten years, we may be saying, “We can handle Covid-19.” Like the software that made the iPhone great, we will revel in this victory.
But is the hardware keeping up? Perhaps we shouldn’t be on an aircraft carrier with a huge victory sign behind us yet. Maybe the diagnostic side isn’t up to the challenge. Why are we using a flip phone with iPhone technology? Isn’t it time for the labs of the world to take the next step? Why can’t we have an instant Covid-19 result? Why are we still doing tests that take two hours to result and cost $140? Why are we still fighting with insurance companies about covering these tests?
Why can’t we have a reliable, free-to-everyone Covid test, which we can take at home? You can buy a pregnancy test over the counter, test your sugar immediately and get numerous drugs at your local pharmacy, why are we so far behind on this? This hardware is desperately needed worldwide. Who will take this challenge and run with it to get us off the 1995 platform and into the 2020s? When will we leave the Nokia 6165i’s behind and take the next step forward?