With the holidays in our rearview and 2016 in full stride, we’d like to offer up our top 10 HIT predictions for the year to come. Let us know your predictions and whether you agree or disagree!
- With population health finally defined and implemented, the EHR vendors take the market. It has taken several years for some of the major EHR vendors to hone their PHM offerings to the point where they can compete with best-of-breed vendors, but that time has come. [i]
- Security threats increase as value of data escalates. Hospitals & health systems continue to invest millions in security technology, rewrite many policies, and invest in continuous security education for all staff. Despite best efforts, HCOs cannot promise a breach-free year in 2016, especially considering the sheer volume of data collected and the sensitivity of that data. [ii]
- EHR workflows will be redefined and increasingly automated. Physician practices have increasingly absorbed the burdens of ever-changing regulatory requirements that force them into workflows that are inefficient, and that demand a lot of time and attention. Clinician requests for usability, speed, and simplicity (not more features) will be addressed, and simpler EHR functionality with greater usability will shape purchasing decisions. [iii]
- Value-based payment programs (MU, PQRS/VBM, MSSP, MIPS, etc) require adaptation. Downward pressure of the healthcare economy will increase risk-based contracting to 50% of provider payments by 2017, resulting in premium increases in the 2% to 3% range. More and more, practices will be required to manage incentive programs as a measurement of success — and their financial health will depend upon how well they navigate these waters. [iv]
- Infrastructure increasingly commoditized due to the cloud. IDC predicts that by 2020, 80% of health data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime, as providers increasingly leverage hosted infrastructure for data collection, aggregation, and analysis. HCOs won’t take on the risk of operating multiple data centers when commodity services like web hosting are available.
- The role of the CIO will evolve from provisioner/tech expert to service procurer and governance runner. They will increasingly become an orchestra conductor and not a technology expert. In addition, many CFOs are the next ones in line for CEO appointments because they understand the margin and mission more than most typical administrators. [v]
- Physicians flock to direct primary care (DPC) when faced with the prospect of burning out or returning to the roots of personalized medicine (a more egalitarian form of concierge medicine). EHR vendors who are targeting DPC, such as Amazing Charts, will do well. [vi]
- CCJR sets the direction, and care coordination benefits. IT investments must rise for organizations to meet customer expectations, survive bundled payment reimbursement methods, and create decision support/big data wisdom. Commercial payers will follow CMS’s lead and implement CCJR-like payment schemes. Throwing different HCOs into a single boat will create two sets of IT-addressable challenges: better visibility into care processes of other providers and better contract modeling for divvying up payments.
- Apps will layer on top of transactional systems empowered by APIs. APIs are prevalent in every part of the economy except healthcare. According to the CEO of a major IDN, “EHRs are becoming commodity platforms. The winner will be the EHR vendor that provides the best platform for innovation – the most open and extensible platform.” [vii]
- Mergers & Acquisistions: Rip & Replace, Conversion Continues. Chilmark Research forecasts 4 key M&A activities in 2016:
1) A leading, national payer acquires one of the progressive upstart payers
2) EHR vendors with just a modicum of PHM capabilities acquire best-of-breed vendors to meet growing client demand
3) Several EHR vendors with reasonably-sized customer footprints will be acquired or merged with another EHR vendor to gain scale and lower cost structure
4) FTC will reject at least one major provider merger that threatens healthy competition [viii]
- BONUS: Consumerization of Health Care – Patient Relationship Management. The newest battleground is patient access, and consumers will be rewarded for smart shopping, with transparency, crowd sourcing and a more targeted personalized marketplace.
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[i] Credit: Health Catalyst, The 12-Criteria of Population Health Management
[ii] Credit: International Data Corporation (IDC) and the Attorney General for National Security
[iii] Credit: John Halmaka
[iv] Credit: International Data Corporation (IDC)
[v] Credit: Deloitte Developers, LLC
[vi] Credit: heritage.org & US Census Bureau and ConciergeMedicineToday.com
[vii] Credit: Chilmark Research
[viii] Credit: Chilmark Research