On Dec. 4, the team of researchers at IDC Health Insights unveiled their predictions about hot trends for 2013, many of which have implications for CIOs and CMIOs at hospitals and health systems.
Here is a quick breakdown of some key points.
• On meaningful use: Scott Lundstrom, the IDC Health Insights group vice president, noted that as stage 2 and 3 final rules emerge, providers continue to invest time, effort and budget. But he noted that
there is a divide between haves and have-nots. “Large systems and academic medical centers have done a good job of developing their system architectures, but many of the small and midsized providers are bogged down in implementation,” he said. If they took a quick-and-dirty approach to just doing enough to meet Stage 1 by deploying old-fashioned bolt-ons and add-ons to older systems, things will only get harder in the later stages, he added.
• On ACOs: Cynthia Burghard, research director, noted that analytics is expected to be the key focus on accountable care organizations. “Analytics really is the linchpin for ACOs, because the old adage that you can’t manage what you can’t measure is really true,” she said. Their top technology investments for 2012 and 2013 will include analytics, risk identification, and predictive modeling. Surveys of ACO technology leaders suggest that investment in connected health technology for consumer engagement will be limited in the next 18 months while ACOs deploy their analytics strategy.
• Think mobile: Lynne Dunbrack,program director, noted that in 2013 more providers and payers will think about their mobile strategy as consumersincreasingly abandon PCs and embrace mobile for their internet usage. “The shift requires rethinking how we deliver content,” she said, adding that payers and providers will partner with mobile health vendors to accelerate mobile strategies.
• Online office visits: Dunbrack also noted that virtual online care is starting to gain traction. IDC cited a recent survey in which 41.7 percent of respondents indicated they were somewhat interested or very interested in a virtual online visit. Forward-thinking providers will experiment with online care to reduce re-admissions within 30 days, manage patients with chronic conditions and create new revenue streams for their practice, IDC’s predicted. Clinicians may be able to do quick checkups online, Dunbrack added, with smart devices, wirelessly sending biometric data to a physician or nurse.
• Payers as technology suppliers: Dunbrack noted that payers have bought up most of the players in the health information exchange technology market and are adding enabling technologies for accountable care strategies. Burghard added that payers are also buying up analytics vendors and developers of patient registries. “One could say that it becomes an accountable care platform,” she said, but she added that it is not just a technology play. Payers are bringing health plan technologies, methodologies and services to at-risk providers. Thirty-six percent of health plans intend to offer care management technologies to providers and/or others; 52 percent of plans intend to offer health and wellness technology to providers, and 42 percent of health plans intend to offer ACO technologies to providers and others. The HIE vendors will continue to add value-added services such as analytics, care management and consumer engagement to target the burgeoning accountable care market.
• Managing chaos: Lundstrom said that managing change would be the biggest challenge in 2013. “Management teams are completely overwhelmed by the rate of change,” he said. “It is overtaxing these organizations.” They are struggling to figure out what is the appropriate rate of change in terms of budgets, staff, technology platforms and project management. “If I were launching a startup tomorrow,” he added, “it would be a change management business.”
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