With the new year, healthcare c-suite members are taking a critical look at upcoming market movement to maintain a holistic view of their organizations’ needs. Discussing industry trends at the recent College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) CIO Forum, Anna Pannier, senior director of Ascension Technologies at Ascension Saint Thomas, noted the significant change taking place in the value-based care and wellness marketplace as a top concern for healthcare organizations.
As healthcare leaders, like Pannier, look to stabilize their IT strategies and drive meaningful patient outcomes and operational efficiency, they should assess these five c-suite hot-button topics in the next year.
The shift in data analytics
As a more mainstream solution in the healthcare industry, data analytics is not considered the big “game changer” any longer, but it is still a significant investment focus for providers over the next year. Many healthcare facilities assume that once an analytics platform is implemented, they are ahead of the game. Unfortunately though, those same organizations fail to customize dashboards, continuously assess data, or really break down data insights for meaningful change and care decisions. Driving quality outcomes through data analytics to prepare for the future of population health risk management will be a large focus in proactive facilities.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare has now surpassed data analytics on the new investment frontier. The industry has already seen AI application in pathology and radiology in the past year. Eighty percent of healthcare professionals believe that AI is helping to reduce physician burnout, according to a MIT Technology Review survey. Respondent hospitals said AI has increased patient consult time, improved team collaboration and boosted productivity through workflow enhancements.
Similar to data analytics, the CIO will need to work with leadership groups in both the clinical and business sides to determine AI use cases across their evolving organizations. Thought typically applied to clinical care, applying automation and AI on the operations side will drive workload transformation across key business functions.
Greater emphasis on patient engagement
With most organizations having a fully implemented EHR, healthcare organizations are looking to make the most of their long-term investment. Added pressure from value-based care documentation and reimbursement initiatives, as well as increased consumer expectations, drive emphasis on patient engagement. Yet, meaningfully connecting and interacting with healthcare consumers in their patient care plans still lacks.
In fact, pointing to limited or complicated instructions for the everyday patient, a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that hospitals are not properly preparing patients to take advantage of patient portals. More healthcare organizations are now seeking around-the-clock direct patient portal support, as an extension of their IT service desk’s capabilities. This coupled with remote virtual monitoring will drive improved patient outcomes in the next year.
Response by Christopher Gerg, CISO and vice president of cyber risk management, Gillware.
With 2020 nearly upon us, I am finding that many organizations are doing a poor job of prioritizing information security risks appropriately. Part of this is a product of how the information is presented and the context within which it is presented. Part of it is mindset – many organization’s management teams think of IT and information security as a cost center.
They also think of the role of technology as one of convenience; websites are a nice way to market your company, and email is a nice way to communicate. In reality, many organizations find that their entire business grinds to a halt when their computing infrastructure is locked up with ransomware. In addition, I think that senior management roles think about finances and classic business (MBA-style) strategy.
Ultimately, management can do one of three things to address a risk: fix it directly (buy something or change something), insure against the risk (transfer the risk to your cybersecurity insurance policy), or simply assume the risk (with knowledge of the impact if there is an issue as a result of the risk materializing).
A report of risk to management should include a discussion of the nature of the risk, a likelihood of it materializing, and finally the impact on the business. This will give management context to decide how to address the reported risks (in a language that business people will appreciate).
The solution revolves around communication. Basing the message in terms of risk to the organization, and having that be the core of your reporting is essential. Why do we need to change how we do something, or spend money to address something? What risks are we trying to address, and how significant are they? How will the proposed fix address that risk? Is it sustainable?
2020 predictions from Luma Health chief medical officer and co-founder, Dr. Tashfeen Ekram.
As a country we’re expected to spend about $1.3 trillion for hospital care this year. With an average profit margin of 8%, hospitals have higher margins than the pharmacy or insurance industries. Patients are bearing the brunt of these rising costs and as a result, crowdsourcing sites have seen an influx of patients requiring help to pay their medical bills. Some patients are even avoiding the U.S. medical system all together as demonstrated by higher numbers of medical tourism to countries that provide cheaper access to surgeries and other procedures.
To mitigate inflated costs and retain patients, providers in the year to come will implement savvier solutions to reach patients, such as telehealth visits or new ways of engaging with patients across their care journey to help them stay on top of their health and wellbeing. We will also see an increasing variety of innovative payment and business models to balance cost and outcomes.
Amazon will help build the lingua franca for healthcare, unless CMS does it first
The pursuit to democratize access to health data across providers and patients alike remains a critical one. Only by breaking down the data silos that providers, devices and wearables build can EHR systems be gleaned for the treasure troves of insight and help provide increasingly personalized medicine for better clinical outcomes.
Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce have pledged to open up interoperability via their involvement in FHIR, but this past year, CMS might have made the biggest move in interoperability by opening up an API for access to patient billing data. And when CMS decides on something, history shows that most will follow.
Retail clinics will improve access to care for patients, but quality remains uncertain
The thousands of retail clinics now providing patient care as a result of players like CVS, Walgreens and Walmart entering the healthcare market will improve care for millions of patients, who can now go across the street for easy access to basic healthcare services. To keep up with higher patient expectations around speed of access and convenience that consumerized access to care brings with it, providers across the board will turn to new solutions and partnerships to increase access and convenience, upping their game and retain the patients they risk losing to consumerized care.