Sweeney Among the Florence Nightingales: Wireless Health Pioneer Jim Sweeney Customizes iTouch for Patient Care
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“meaningful use” requirements for adopting electronic health record systems. “The dollars associated with having meaningful use and the penalties for not having it are sucking up a lot of dollars and a lot of attention,” he says.
Sweeney, who has close to 50 years in healthcare, says he also is expecting what he calls “a free-fall” in private insurance reimbursement rates. Sweeney says he meets with hospital CEOs throughout the country, and what they’re telling him is far from comforting.
“What everyone believes is that there’s going to be a precipitous fall in [healthcare insurance] reimbursement rates in the next 24 to 48 months,” Sweeney says. He expects private insurance reimbursements will normalize near current Medicaid reimbursement levels, which means a drop of 50 percent or more—just as a rising tide of baby boomers are demanding increased healthcare by virtue of their numbers.
“Every single [CEO] says they have to take at least 25 percent out of their costs,” Sweeney says. That should create opportunities for PatientSafe by providing technology that hospitals can use to lower their costs by operating more efficiently. Nevertheless, he says, “The challenge really for us is just getting the attention of people who make these decisions. We need to get better at being exposed to hospitals in a short period of time.”
As a result, PatientSafe has been looking for sales partners and consultants that could help the startup gain broader access to key hospital executives.
“The bad news is that hospitals are in the dark ages” of information technologies, Sweeney says. “The good news is that hospitals are in the dark ages.”