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Unraveling the US Healthcare Puzzle

It has been a couple of weeks since the last time I updated the blog – lots of going on here, traveling around the US, and uncovering new problems/opportunities in the US healthcare system, meeting new people and attending a few other conferences besides Health 2.0 in San Francisco.

AdvaMed Convention

A few days ago I attended some sessions at the AdvaMed Convention in Washington DC. Really enjoyed a session at the NZ Embassy with AdvaMed participants as well as attending the International Delegates Forum where 30 odd companies got a chance to introduce themselves and facilitate networking and possibilities of new partnerships. Even though most attendees were from the medical device industry, AdvaMed was an excellent place to learn about new emerging technologies, problems those devices are trying to solve and find possible synergies for LHD with some of them. Was impressed by how NZTE (New Zealand Trade and Enterprise) are doing an excellent job of helping NZ  innovative companies attain entry into the US market, get them up to speed with current legislation and obstacles, and expand their networks.

NCPA Convention

After that was the NCPA Convention (National Community Pharmacists Association) in Philadelphia. It was an excellent expo and invaluable day spent walking around, talking with people, learning more about Medicare Part D and MTM (Medication Therapy Management), discovering that it is such a new and therefore quite flexible market with so many opportunities and ways to go particularly in MTM services and retail chains. Everyone I was talking to are seeing retail chains being a new “one stop shop” for all kinds of healthcare services including receiving healthcare and medication review/optimization services. Lots of going on in this area, though it still seems to be quite vague in terms of best practices (probably a good thing in terms of opportunities). The main problem though is still reimbursement, i.e. who pays the pharmacist or any other qualified care provider for MTM services? And how much ? (especially taking into account all the complex cases where chronic or elderly patients are on multiple medications, and the review/reconciliation/risk management, optimization for complex cases can take over 2 hours while providers are reimbursed maximum for 1 hour, etc). I was able to meet with a few market leaders in the industry, and got very good insights.

Last stop before I head back to NZ  is San Diego. Seems like my company is moving in the right direction and I have some interesting developments to announce soon in terms of our US operations and business. On November 3 I arrive in Wellington, NZ to attend the annual HINZ conference – the major NZ exhibition for Health IT. I am very much looking forward to that. As some of you may know NZ is a very innovative country yet with a small market NZ companies need pipelines to enter the vast US market. These past 4 weeks in the USA have gone a long way to creating our own pipeline for LHD into the US market.

Yours in health,

Hamish

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