Assessing the past and predicting the future for 2017

Assessing the past and predicting the future for 2017

With the holiday season on the down swing, we reflect on the past year and start to look towards the new one. What were your predictions for 2016? Here’s what we were predicting would happen, were we right or wrong?

  1. False: With population health finally defined and implemented, the EHR vendors take the market. Cerner and Epic have definitely made some progress on the acute side, and athenahealth and eClinicalworks on the ambulatory side.  However, none of these vendors have really taken the market by storm and there are a slew of other EHR vendors still pulling a PHM solutions suite together.
  2. True: Security threats increase as value of data escalates. As the value of personal health information tops the cost to obtain it, there was certainly no lack of cyber-security hacks and breaches during 2016. 
  3. False: EHR workflows will be redefined and increasingly automated. Unfortunately  we’re just not there yet, but it’s coming! Let’s add this to the list for 2017. The demand for usability, speed, and simplicity are still very prevalent. 
  4. True: Value-based payment programs (MU, PQRS/VBM, MSSP, MIPS, etc) require adaptation. With “pick your pace” and the MACRA Final Rule introduced, there was no shortage of adaptations to value-based payment programs. CMS also put forward CPC+ in April, which should increase adoption, if it gains APM status under MACRA. 
  5. False: Infrastructure increasingly commoditized due to the cloud. Healthcare has been relatively slow to adopt cloud-based systems, partly due to concerns around IT security and data privacy. As the digital transformation of healthcare picks up in 2017, the cloud will become the de facto model for new technology platforms and solutions.
  6. True: The role of the CIO will evolve We have seen this from HealthIT & mHealth’s CHIME CIO Interviews, from provisioner/tech expert to service procurer and governance runner. CIOs are expanding their roles to become an orchestra conductor and not just a technology expert. This is another area that will likely grow more in 2017. 
  7. False: Physicians flock to direct primary care: There has been growth in the number of physicians who are choosing to go towards DPC, but it is more likely to really accelerate under the Trump administration. A majority of small practices are simply opting to sell their practice to the highest bidder among local HCOs.
  8. Mixed: CCJR sets the direction, and care coordination benefits. This is partially right only because CMS had to go with a stick approach after an apathetic initial enrollment.  Care coordination still dominated by readmissions programs and the 30/90/120 day follow-up periods that are utilized for various readmissions programs including CMS.  It is very rare to see true continuous care coordination that is longitudinal and open-ended across a cohort of patients or specific geographic region.  It is almost entirely episodic, event-based, and limited follow-up duration. [Chilmark Research
  9. False: Apps will layer on top of transactional systems empowered by APIs. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) was gaining significant momentum to become the benchmark API for healthcare. But, the promise of FHIR has yet to be realized as it does not become “official” until 2017. No major EHR vendor released a comprehensive set of production-ready FHIR profiles and resources in 2016.
  10. True: Mergers & Acquisistions: Rip & Replace, Conversion Continues. M&A activity continued throughout 2016, especially among healthcare providers as large HCOs seek to build out their CINs to create more comprehensive care networks. The M&A activity we were expecting in the HIT market and in particular across EHRs failed to materialize.

What are we predicting will happen in 2017 in the world of health IT? Here are our top 6:

  1. EHR Usability Will Be Enhanced: With Tom Price as the new pick for HHS Secretary, usability will be pushed even more to the forefront. New products and services will be created (ex. apps or modules that sit on top of EHRs) to enhance usability, reduce keystrokes, and make physicians more efficient.
  2. The Private Sector Will Become More Prominent In Decision Making: Because of the 21st Century Cures Act, there is now less federal enforcement of regulation which gives the private sector more time for innovation.
  3. Continue On The Path Towards Value-Based Purchasing: Fee-for-service will be less important. Value-Based purchasing may be delayed but needs to persist in order to compete in today’s market. EHRs need to become more of a “keeping a person healthy” rather than record and compute
  4. Precision Medicine Programs Will Diminish Overtime: People no longer know if their funding will be there next year. The Cures Act requires annual refunding reupped.
  5. Significant changes to the ACA (Obamacare) will be made under President Trump: While he campaigned on a promise of completely abolishing and repealing the ACA, the extent of actual changes, and the proposal of alternatives is still to be determined, but there will defintiely be changes made.
  6. A continued rise of consumerism in healthcare: The trend toward the higher expectations of consumerism will only continue to accelerate. Patient voices will be heard.

Don’t leave your healthcare organization’s future up to prediction. Contact Galen for your professional, technical, and product related questions:

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