John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, kicked off 2016 with an article predicting the state of Health IT in 2016. While we won’t share his entire article here (See link to full article below), we found the following predictions interesting:
- Population health will finally be defined and implemented
- Market forces will be more potent than regulation
- The healthcare industry will realize that IT investments must rise for organizations to meet customer expectations, survive bundled payment reimbursement methods, and create decision support/big data wisdom
Population Health Will be Defined and Implemented
The concept of population health first came about in 2003 when David Kindig and Greg Stoddart defined it as “the health outcome of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.” While providers struggle to define “population health,” since 2003 they have come to view the term “population health” as an opportunity for healthcare systems and social service organizations to work together in order to improve the health outcomes of the communities they serve. Halamka says providers do not believe their current EHR has the functionality to enable this type of care delivery. He predicts that population health IT in 2016 will aggregate data from multiple provider, payer, and patient sources and then create lists of patients with care gaps to be closed. We totally agree. Some of our clients are already successfully doing this.
Market Forces Will Be More Potent than Regulation
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) placed primary care physicians at the forefront of improving the health of Americans and lowering overall healthcare costs. With this change came the shift from fee-for-service to value-based reimbursement. Due to ACA, Medicare is changing the way it pays hospitals for services provided to people with Medicare. Instead of paying for the number of services a hospital provides, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is rewarding providers for delivering services of higher quality and higher value. Halamka says “We need to move away from prescriptive regulations so complex that no one understands them. Instead, we need pay for performance based on outcomes, giving providers and industry the freedom to achieve these outcomes using whatever technology they feel appropriate.”
The Healthcare Industry Will Realize that IT Investments Must Rise
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim Initiative for optimizing health system performance involves providing better care for individuals, better population health, and lower healthcare costs. Technology plays a key role in helping organizations achieve the Triple Aim. According to Halamka, “The healthcare industry will realize that IT investments must rise for organizations to meet customer expectations, survive bundled payment reimbursement methods, and create decision support/big data wisdom – I often tell my stakeholders that scope, time and resources are tightly coupled (The Triple Aim). You cannot increase scope without increasing time or resources. As more automation is deemed critical for the needs of the business, IT budgets will be increased as a strategic imperative.”
We think Dr. Halamka’s predictions are right on the money. Population Health, Value-Based Healthcare, and Health IT are going to play a critical role in Healthcare in 2016. In fact, on January 11 we announced our intent to partner with MHIN, one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit HIEs, to integrate health and human services data with clinical data to reduce costs and improve outcomes for population health.
2016 looks to be an exciting year for the health and human service industry. Are you ready to jump on board?
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