Between 1996 and 2013 people in America spent $933 billion more on healthcare. The main reason for this is that patients nowadays get more intense care that can be quite expensive. America has an aging population and there are far more elderly people than there ever has been in the past plus a growing population overall. More people have health issues some of which are quite expensive to treat.
Gerard Anderson works for the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins. He says that it has been known for a long time that its the prices of receiving health care that’s driving this increase in spending. Back in 2003 he wrote a research paper about this very topic called, “It’s the Prices, Stupid”.
As an example, prices for treating diabetes have grown dramatically over the years. $64 billion more was spent on this disease than in 1996. Most of this is for pharmaceuticals for people to manage diabetes. Low back and neck pain costs have also gone dramatically up with $57 billion being spent on it. As a portion of the population more people aren’t experiencing these but more people are now having it medically treated than years ago.
One person that is trying to reduce the cost of treating cancer is Eric Lefofsky of Groupon fame. He co-founded another Chicago-based company called Tempus and serves as its chief executive officer. This company, which was founded in 2016, is building a digital platform that will contain the largest library of both clinical and molecular data that is in existence. This enables doctors treating cancer to easily narrow down the best treatment option for each of their patients. The platform takes out much of the guesswork that doctors go through.
The platform that Eric Lefkofsky and his team at Tempus are building will help patients achieve better outcomes as their therapy is individually tailored to their genetic makeup. The software can determine, based on their genetic data and other patients clinical data, what therapies they will respond to best. Over time this will also hopefully reduce the expenses that go into cancer treatment.
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