BETHESDA, MD. — Public-sector organizations are facing steep budget deficits and seemingly impossible deadlines for complying with the federal healthcare law. But new technology can help states and local agencies meet their obligations, according to a recent webcast hosted by the Healthcare Performance Management (HPM) Institute.
"Cloud-based computing methods can allow agencies to provide better benefits at lower cost," said George Pantos, Executive Director of the HPM Institute and moderator of the webcast. "Leaders at all levels of government should embrace this game-changing technology."
Gene Walker, President of HCI Federal, a provider of cloud-based healthcare solutions to the public sector, explained that federal agencies must simplify their processes for handling data if they want to effectively implement reform.
"Many federal agencies will find that sharing information with each other will smooth the transition to a new health benefits landscape, " Walker said. "Cloud computing facilitates the exchange of that information in ways previously thought impossible."
Liddy Garcia-Bunuel of Healthy Howard, a community health plan for the uninsured in Howard County, Maryland, laid out how cloud computing will help state and local officials set up health reform’s new insurance exchanges.
"Given today’s challenging fiscal environment, states can’t afford any hiccups as they set up their exchanges," said Garcia-Bunuel. "In Howard County, we’ve used cloud technology to deliver benefits more efficiently and to support robust wellness initiatives that both save money and improve beneficiaries’ health. Officials elsewhere should consider what they can learn from our experience."
Alice Burton, a Maryland-based health policy expert, pointed out that cloud-based technology can ensure that consumers have positive experiences in the new health exchanges.
"The technical aspects of the exchanges operations are important, but we must remember the importance of a seamless consumer experience," Burton said. "Cloud-based solutions can ensure that state exchanges operate as well or even better than existing insurance marketplaces."
"Cloud computing enables collaboration not only between doctors and patients but also among those who manage health plans," Walker said. "If public-sector officials can capitalize on the promise of cloud-based technology, they’ll be able to reduce costs and improve the health of their workforces."