“Consumer pressure is driving a disruptive technology-enabled shift in healthcare today,” said Hal Wolf, HIMSS president and CEO, in a statement about the report. “Digital health technologies are beginning to deliver on their promise to help providers understand individual consumer preferences and provide personalized care that effectively coordinates care throughout the broader health ecosystem. By fully realizing the potential of information and technology, we can create an ever-increasingly informed and empowered global community of innovators, care providers, and patients.”
Specifically, the HIMSS report addresses four key trends: digital health implications and applications, consumer impact, financial and demographic challenges, and issues of data governance and policy. “Digital health tools have been riding the peak of the hype cycle for several years now,” the report points out, “but 2019 will be the year that digital health will need to answer for the way technology will increase access to care and narrow gaps in care and coverage.”
Given these areas of focus, it’s a good bet that the upcoming HIMSS19 conference and trade show will heavily promote these ideals. Even with that, there are likely going to be many other takeaways from healthcare technology’s biggest annual event so we asked some industry insiders, experts and thought leaders what they hope become the main takeaways from the event once it has wrapped. Here’s what they said.
In his keynote session at the DreamIt conference in Tampa, November 6, 2018, Sumit Kimar Nagpal, global lead of digital health strategy at Accenture, says the future of healthcare is about a few simple things: Keeping people safe, providing for their well-being and improving care via information and technology.
Sounds simple, but guess what? Traditional players in healthcare are simply not ready, he said. Before explaining why, he painted a portrait of the current landscape and what he expects to come.
First, the current marketplace is all about cost then “innovation,” “agility,” “convenience,” and even the supposed “patient experience.” Cost, however, is likely the single most important issue in healthcare, he said, citing its 18 percent of the US GDP. There a lot of talk about convenience and collaboration, but what’s the outcomes? he asked.
Cost is the biggest driver. It’s a “cost takeout” marketplace, which is dominated by back office optimization. In other words, reduce costs through back office efficiency controls and strategies to save health systems money.
However, there are three important mega trends in healthcare related to the individual consumer. We are aging as a population; we are living longer; and we are facing more long-term conditions. All of this is surrounded by consumerism or the consumer experience and what that means to their health.
Another major transformation is that care is shifting in its location. There is a shift of care to the retail setting, for example, out of the four walls traditionally known in healthcare, for earlier engagement of care in the areas where people live, work and play. This even means that experiences are moving online, into the home and into the community setting.
Those who give us care is changing, too, he said. We’re used to seeing a doctor or a family care provider in an office at a practice, but that is quickly shifting. Care teams are extending well beyond the doctor into retail pharmacists, friends and family, teleconsultations, visiting nurses and social workers and “Dr. AI” and “Dr. Google.
“We’re building a very different relationship with technology to help us decide what’s next and what we have as a condition. This is all about taking down the silos and the four walls, and includes deep, mass personalization,” he said.
Driven by evolving consumer expectations, healthcare IT startup funding for digital healthcare, such as telehealth or wearable technology, is expected to double in the United States over the next three years, growing from $3.5 billion in 2014 to $6.5 billion by the end of 2017, according to new research by Accenture.
“A digital disruption is playing out in healthcare that will change social interactions, alter consumer expectations and, ultimately, improve health outcomes,” said Dipak Patel, managing director of Accenture’s patient access initiatives. “This momentum will be sustained if digital healthcare start-ups apply capabilities that create a seamless patient experience and result in both medical cost savings and improved outcomes.”
According to new research from Accenture, despite slower-than-expected growth, the global market for electronic health records (EHR) is estimated to reach $22.3 billion by the end of 2015, with the North American market projected to account for $10.1 billion or 47 percent, released today at the annual HIMSS Conference in Orlando.
According to Accenture, although the worldwide EHR market is projected to grow at 5.5 percent annually through 2015, Accenture’s previous research shows that would represent a slowdown from roughly 9 percent growth during 2010. Despite the slower pace of growth globally, the combined EHR market in North and South America (The Americas) is expected to reach $11.1 billion by the end of 2015, compared to an estimated $4 billion in the Asia Pacific region and $7.1 billion in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
“Although the market is growing, the ability of healthcare leaders to achieve sustained outcomes and proven returns on their investments poses a significant challenge to the adoption of electronic health records,” said Kaveh Safavi, global managing director of Accenture Health. “However, as market needs continue to change, we’re beginning to see innovative solutions emerge that can better adapt and scale electronic health records to meet the needs of specific patient populations as well as the business needs of health systems.”
Driven by consolidation and the federal Meaningful Use guidelines, the United States is expected to remain the largest EHR market in the Americas and globally, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.1 percent and will total $9.3 billion by the end of 2015. Along with increasing U.S. market demand, Brazil, projected at $0.4 billion, may represent the greatest relative growth opportunity as a country-wide federal initiative, the Unified Health System, is expected to drive 9.7 percent annual growth over the next several years.
According to a recent Accenture survey, more tech-savvy seniors are seeking digital option for managing their health services remotely. With an estimated 3.5 million U.S. citizens a year expected to reach 65 years-old through 20231, many want access to healthcare technology, such as virtual physician consultations (42 percent) and self-serve tools (62 percent) like online appointment scheduling. Only a third of healthcare providers currently offer such capabilities.
Accenture says that the rising population of seniors are active online. Internet use between 2000 to 2012 tripled for those 65 and older and doubled among those 50 to 64 years old. Accenture says that at least three-fourths of Medicare recipients access the Internet, at least once a day, for email (91 percent) or to conduct online searches (73 percent) and a third access social media sites, such as Facebook, at least once a week.
Two-thirds of seniors (67 percent) surveyed say that access to their health information is important, but only 28 percent currently have full access to their electronic health records. Similarly, 70 percent of those surveyed believe it’s important to be able to request prescription refills electronically, but, fewer than half (46 percent) say they can do so today. And, the majority (58 percent) want to be able to email healthcare providers, but only 15 percent say they currently have that capability.
“Just as seniors are turning to the Internet for banking, shopping, entertainment and communications, they also expect to handle certain aspects of their healthcare services online,” said Jill Dailey, managing director of payer strategy, Accenture Health.
According to a new survey by Accenture, and featured in Healthcare IT News, among other publications, more U.S. consumers (41 percent) are willing to switch doctors for access to electronic health records.
According to more than 9,000 people in nine countries, people are becoming more engaged with their EHRs and are going so far as to make the switch.
However, “only about a third of U.S. consumers (36 percent) currently have full access to their EMR, but more than half (57 percent) have taken ownership of their record by self-tracking their personal health information including their health history (37 percent), physical activity (34 percent) and health indicators (33 percent), such as blood pressure and weight.”
Roughly four out of five consumers (84 percent) surveyed believe they should have full access to their electronic medical record while only a third of physicians (36 percent) share this belief. In contrast, the majority of U.S. doctors (65 percent) say patients should only have limited access to their records and that is what most individuals (63 percent) say they currently have.