Economic Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Health Care - The Road to Autonomy

Economic Impact of Autonomous Vehicles on Health Care

Dr. Peter Weiss, Board Certified Physician and Health Care Entrepreneur joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy: Autonomy Economy podcast to discuss the economic impact that autonomous vehicles will have on health care.

The conversation begins with Dr. Weiss discussing how he views autonomous vehicles and the delivery of health care complimenting each other in the future.

Health care is more then just seeing the physician or a health care provider, it’s about getting from point A to point B to provide that care.

– Dr. Peter Weiss

In the future autonomous vehicles will have the capability to determine if a passenger is having a heart attack, potentially saving their life. The question of who makes the decision to re-route the autonomous vehicle to a hospital is yet to be determined. The vehicle could ask the passenger for permission, but what if that individual is unconscious? Then what happens?

If the passenger is unable to respond to the question, then the car should be able to then directly take the passenger to the hospital and at the same time notify the hospital that we have a patient coming in with certain blood pressure, certain atrial fibrillation. All this information that can could really save a life.

– Dr. Peter Weiss

Is legislation needed to limit the liability of that decision? Most likely, as the decisions made will open a formidable maze of legal liabilities. Then there is the aspect of insurance and what hospital the passenger is rerouted to for medical care. Are those doctors and hospital in-network or out of-network? Who is responsible for the difference in cost?

In 2022, hospital expenditures grew 2.2% to $1.35 trillion according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Could rerouting autonomous vehicles with unwell passengers add to the growing hospital expenditures? Yes. When health care is able to be delivered in an autonomous vehicle, there could be cost savings that would offset those growing expenditures.

It’s not just hospital expenditures that are growing, it’s the overall cost of delivering health care. In 2022 U.S. consumers spent 8% of their income on health care, only 4.8% less than they spend on food according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Overall health care expenditures grew 4.1% to $4.5 trillion equaling $13,493 per person, accounting for 17.3% of GDP.

A percentage of the increasing expenditures could be correlated to motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death in their United States with over 100 people dying everyday. In 2015, more than 2.5 million drivers and passengers were treated in emergency rooms as a result of being injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes.

The economic impact of these crashes is notable. For crashes that occurred in 2017, the cost of medical care and productivity losses associated with occupant injuries and deaths from motor vehicle traffic crashes exceeded $75 billion. If autonomous vehicles can eliminate a majority of these crashes, the economic not to mention societal impact could be astronomical.

You would save billions of dollars in costs that could be provided for underserved communities that need treatment for asthma, for all of these other things that could be done. There is a greater utilization of the money that could be provided for care.

– Dr. Peter Weiss

Autonomy and autonomous vehicles are good for society and the economy. They will have a positive economic impact on health care while making the roads safer.

Wrapping up the conversation, Dr. Weiss share this thoughts on the future of medicine.

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Recorded on Sunday, February 4, 2024

Episode Chapters

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 0:43 Autonomous Vehicles and the Delivery of Health Care
  • 6:48 Growing Medical Expenditures
  • 17:41 End of Life Medical Care Costs
  • 20:32 Personal and Business Spending on Health Care
  • 27:28 Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes
  • 33:42 Neuralink
  • 37:17 Future of Medicine