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Musings on 2012 Health IT

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IDC Health Insights is an advisory services and market research firm that closely follows the payer, provider and life science segments of the healthcare industry, with special emphasis on developing and employing strategies that leverage IT investments to maximize organizational performan

IDC Health Insights is an advisory services and market research firm that closely follows the payer, provider and life science segments of the healthcare industry, with special emphasis on developing and employing strategies that leverage IT investments to maximize organizational performance.

According to research and conversations with health industry executives, IDC has created the following 2012 Health IT predictions. There are five overarching themes impacting the healthcare industry which will affect the future of health IT, according to IDC: health reform, analytics and big data, cloud computing, mobile devices, and social media.

1.  The majority of U.S. providers will use EHRs by the end of 2012. This will advance health information exchange functionality.

2.  Providers will establish successful ACOs, which will emerge from private or public-private initiatives.

3.  Health plans will rebrand in 2012 as the focus turns to consumers. According to IDC, in 2012 at least 70% of health insurance companies and technology resources (beyond ICD-10) will be channeled toward enhancing consumer engagement and care or health management strategies.

4.  There will be greater integration of payment systems with clinical performance and outcomes. Twenty percent of health plans will leverage investment strategies started in 2010 and 2011 to integrate care, network, and payment strategies. Integrating these systems will help differentiate health plans and will allow for an increase in analytics software investments to support outcomes-based payment programs.

5.  Pharmaceutical companies will add software that provides real-time alerts, data integration, and analytics to create actionable information that will drive operational efficiencies.

6.  ACOs will need to develop an enterprise analytic framework that includes clinical analytics. 2012 will see ACOs battling to find significant IT and human resources to meet analytic requirements. These resources will be needed to support an integrated model that will make data available for all stakeholders, anywhere and anytime.  According to Dr. Westby Fisher, the use of data to improve clinical efficiencies while simultaneously using the data to market services will become 2012’s data-driven mantra. Like the fortune-teller’s crystal ball, those centers with the foresight and wherewithal to process and puree the large volume of clinical data spewed forth by today’s caregivers data entry personnel will be richly rewarded as new pressures to the cost curve surface. There will be a distinct competitive advantage to those who can simultaneously compare treatment, demographic, and socioeconomic trends in near real-time with an eye for more financially efficient care.

7.  The relationships between pharmaceutical companies and outsourcing firms will shift from what historically has been one-off relationships with siloed systems of processes being outsourced, to broader and deeper partnering relationships across entire functional areas.

8.  As physicians, nurses, and mid-level practitioners increasingly use their personal mobile devices to conduct work-related tasks, hospital CIOs will have to deal with increased security risks.  Further commentary by Dr. Fisher, “One only has to realize the extent of the mobile-medical movement and the innovations in hand-held devices capable of fully managing patients at a distance to appreciate the futile nature of the government’s ability to enforce the HIPAA/HiTECH acts. After all, despite the government’s heavy-handed wrist-slapping in this regard, I have yet to see a story of how the government recovered any of the data lost or how they rectified damages to those whose medical information has already been compromised. Shouldn’t that be the focus?”

9.  Health plans will deploy second-generation communication strategies, developed with the aid of analytics software, to support consumer communications throughout 2012.

10.  The second generation of consumer communications will leverage consumers’ social networks, including family, friends, and co-workers, to encourage healthy habits. For example, through mobile devices and social networking sites like Facebook, social connections can encourage (or prod) people to follow medical, diet, or exercise regimens, such as monitoring glucose or blood pressure readings on home health monitoring devices.

While is it exciting to see the proliferation of predictions for innovative technology with regards to patient engagement, it begs the question – how will the healthcare industry insure that pertinent messaging is not duplicated by multiple parties? Sounding strangely familiar, it would be nice to see payers, providers and vendors engage in a collaborative effort to make this 2012 New Year’s resolution come true.

Principle Healthcare Associates is an expert resource and dedicated advocate for Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, Physician and Healthcare Executive job seekers. With many years of recruiting experience, we deliver strategies to help clients identify diamonds in the rough and candidates stand head and shoulders above the competition.


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