Top Ten Tech Trends 2018: Could Newfangled Business and Technology Combinations Upend the Landscape of Healthcare Delivery? | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Top Ten Tech Trends 2018: Could Newfangled Business and Technology Combinations Upend the Landscape of Healthcare Delivery?

August 29, 2018
by Mark Hagland, Editor-in-Chief
| Reprints
Could some of the business and technology combinations and ventures announced within the past year herald a new era of disruption in U.S. healthcare delivery? Industry experts agree—the answer, potentially, is yes

Editor’s Note: Throughout the next week, in our annual Top Ten Tech Trends package, we will share with you, our readers, stories on how we gauge the U.S. healthcare system’s forward evolution into the future.

In an article online in the Business Insider published in July, Shelagh Dolan put it very directly: “Healthcare disruption is no longer looming—it's here, and it's necessary. As the population continues aging, health organizations and providers are struggling to keep up with growing demand for care, while consumers are facing astronomical costs—often for subpar service.”

What’s more, Dolan wrote, “Desperate for ways to cut costs and improve accessibility of patient care, traditional healthcare providers are turning to tech innovations for help. In the last five years alone, healthcare funding among the 10 largest US tech companies jumped from $277 million to $2.7 billion. New technologies including telehealth, wearables, mobile apps, and AI are facilitating a shift towards preventative medicine and value-based care, in turn reducing claims, improving benefits plans, lowering patients' premiums, and increasing their lifetime value.”

What are these companies up to? Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is leveraging its extensive cloud platform and data analytics capabilities to hone in on trends in population health, the Business Insider report noted. The company plans to drive more strategic health system partnerships by identifying issues with electronic health record (EHR) interoperability and currently limited computing infrastructure. Meanwhile, Amazon’s recent acquisition of PillPack is another step towards integrating medical supplies and pharmaceuticals into its platform and distribution. The company is also ramping up its AI capabilities to transform Alexa into an in-home health concierge, thereby driving consumers to the website for prescriptions and basic medical supplies. Apple and Microsoft are moving in, too, with Apple looking to turn its popular consumer products into powerful healthcare tools — with monitoring capabilities that benefit both patients and providers, and Microsoft, like Alphabet, leveraging its robust data and analytics capabilities for visibility into population health.

As a June 15 report in the online publication EHR Intelligence noted, the research firm Kalorama Intelligence reports that those three companies—Google, Apple, and Microsoft—have filed more than 300 healthcare patents between 2013-2017—among them, Google’s 186 patents, mainly focused on investments for DeepMind, its artificial intelligence and Verily, its healthcare and disease research entity; Apple’s 54 patents focused on turning its iPhone into a medical device that can monitor biometric data such as blood pressure and body fat levels and to develop algorithms to predict abnormal heart rates; and Microsoft’s 73 patents, centered around expanding its artificial intelligence capabilities and developing monitoring devices for chronic diseases.

That EHR Intelligence article also stated this: “Although Amazon has not officially announced details, industry rumblings indicate that Amazon has been working with a secret project team that is exploring platforms for EMR data, health apps and telemedicine. This secret team is known as 1492 and is working on extracting data from EMRs to make it more useful to healthcare providers. Reportedly, the team is also working on building a telemedicine arm, using technology to make virtual doctor/patient consultations a reality.”

Will New Business Combinations Upend the Healthcare Provider Landscape?

Meanwhile, new business combinations are hitting healthcare, too. The announcement on Dec. 3, 2017, that mega-pharmacy retailer CVS was planning to acquire health insurer Aetna for $69 billion, threatened to reshape the landscape of healthcare delivery and organization in the U.S. And, just seven weeks later, three corporate giants—Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase & Co.—announced on Jan. 30, in an ambitious-sounding, if vaguely worded, announcement, that they were launching an initiative to improve satisfaction and reduce costs for their companies’ employees.

And all of these moves to disrupt healthcare are connected, fundamentally, to the high, and growing cost, of the U.S. healthcare system, which Medicare actuaries expect to reach $5.6 trillion, and 19.9 percent of gross domestic product, by 2025.  As Joseph Walker noted in a July 31 article in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Americans Spend So Much on Health Care—In 12 Charts,” “Americans aren’t buying more healthcare overall than other countries. But what they are buying is increasingly expensive. Among the reasons is the troubling fact that few people in health care, from consumers to doctors to hospitals to insurers, know the true cost of what they are buying and selling. Providers, manufacturers and middlemen operate in an opaque market that can mask their role and their cut of the revenue. Mergers give some players more heft to enlarge their piece of the pie. Consumers, meanwhile, buoyed by insurance and tax breaks, have little idea how much they are spending and little incentive to know underlying costs.”

So what will the impact be of all of these bold technological and business moves, for established patient care organizations in U.S. healthcare?

With regard to the planned CVS-Aetna merger, Tim Zoph, client executive and strategist at the Naperville, Ill.-based Impact Advisors, Inc., and a former healthcare CIO, says, “This is a vertical play. Part of this is just the need to really manage the pharmaceutical supply chain and costs. Medications and drugs still represent the largest and fastest-growing costs in healthcare. So the idea that you can insure and also be close to the management and distribution of those medications, sort of brings the insurance risk of managing the PBM (pharmacy benefit manager) side, to the fore. And Aetna is really seeing an opportunity for CVS to reinvigorate beyond its current business model. There may be an opportunity beyond pharmacy management, to look at other retail services, in retail settings. Care is really the growth market; it’s lower-cost, distributed, and convenient. The idea that you have a retail venue that starts with pharmacy is a strong vertical play.”

Tim Zoph

Meanwhile, Steve Valentine, vice president of strategic advisory services at the Charlotte-based Premier Inc., says, “Today [Aug. 3], the California Attorney General opposed the CVS-Aetna merger over cost concerns. We would call that a vertical merger. They have the Minute Clinics, the PBM, etc.—we see them invading the healthcare space to compete for what we call ‘stickiness with the consumer.’ You have 9 to11 percent of the spend in pharmaceuticals. It will be interesting to see whether they go down a path like United, which has Optum, and which is acquiring medical groups.”

And, says Valentine’s colleague Shawn Griffin, M.D., vice president, clinical performance and applied analytics, at Premier, “You’re seeing continued attempts to find ways to put together groups that can help you save on healthcare spend. You’re seeing that with innovations, and with partnerships of all kinds, and they’re all trying to find out what the right team is, to become more efficient and improve quality. You’ve seen it with the EMR vendors, too.”

Don Crane, president and CEO of the Los Angeles-based America’s Physician Groups (APG), a nationwide association of physician groups involved in risk-based contracting, says of all the new combinations, both the technological and business ones, “To me, they signal a very restive employer world, a restive and dissatisfied employer world, certainly, when you talk about Google and Amazon, and so, too, with the carrier-PBM combination. There, it’s more about the players looking for a new model, implying that there’s a dissatisfaction to the point of abandonment of faith in the existing model. So, has the inefficiency of our current healthcare delivery system now produced pain at such a high level that it’s no longer about academic conversations, but time for a variety of different actions? That’s what it’s telling me, that we’re about to hit a pain point. Healthcare is using up more and more of our GPD, and really is hitting our global competitiveness now. So yes, this is very significant.”

Don Crane

Of course, the fundamental practical question is, should the leaders of hospitals, physician groups, and health systems worry about all these new disruptive developments? “Yes, I think so,” says Impact Advisors’ Zoph. “There are two trends to think about here,” he says, speaking of the pending CVS-Aetna merger. “One is the distributed-care, remote to retail, focus on the consumer, follow the higher margin, business; and the other is the issue of consolidation among providers. We’re seeing a growing consolidation of physicians, and of hospitals. That deal gives them greater control and greater market share; evidence shows that… there will be tension because of the consolidation and shoring up of the traditional healthcare market at the same time as these new entries.”

Meanwhile, APG’s Crane notes that “I don’t think that the architects of these various transactions see them all in the same way. They have slightly different strategies, and are facing different challenges. For example, he notes, referring to the CVS-Aetna deal, “The minute-clinic concept never really took off; it didn’t exactly work. But what’s different about these diagonal mergers? I think some of it lies in the data—you’ll be combining the data of a health plan with a pharmacy with a PBM. And we’re moving into an era of artificial intelligence and machine learning and the ability to stack up algorithms to the nth degree and know things we didn’t know before.”

What’s more, Crane says, the leaders of patient care organizations need to begin to rethink the organization and delivery of primary care, as new models come into being. “There’s also the factor of the idea of the transformation of primary care,” he says, speaking of the business and technology disruptors. “I think they envision a world where you don’t have to call your doctor six weeks in advance, drive through traffic, wait for hours, wait for days to get your results—and that just doesn’t seem cool in the second decade of the 21st century. It’s a model begging for revolution.”


The Health IT Summits gather 250+ healthcare leaders in cities across the U.S. to present important new insights, collaborate on ideas, and to have a little fun - Find a Summit Near You!


/article/innovation/top-ten-tech-trends-2018-could-newfangled-business-and-technology-combinations
/article/innovation/take-lead-deploy-emerging-technologies-improved-outcomes

Take the Lead to Deploy Emerging Technologies for Improved Outcomes

December 14, 2018
by Brad Wilson, Industry Voice, former CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
| Reprints

It is a thrilling time to work in healthcare. As the former CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross N.C.), I have had the opportunity to be at the forefront of using new technologies to improve outcomes for our members. Now as a member of the CitiusTech advisory board, I continue that focus on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), and the potential to accelerate the shift to value-based care and improve the healthcare system in material ways.

AI is starting to make a distinct impact in helping providers deliver more effective care, lower costs and create a more consumer-friendly healthcare system. Blue Cross NC recently piloted the use machine learning, a type of AI, to identify spikes in prescriptions for a costly medication. The company reached out to doctors who had been prescribing the medicine in significant numbers. Alerting just one particular physician practice to a generic equivalent brought estimated annual savings of $750,000 for Blue Cross NC customers. The potential of AI is not measured only in dollars, but cost savings are an important consideration.

Machine learning works by applying sophisticated algorithms to rich datasets from electronic medical records (EMRs), patient-reported data, claims and a host of other sources. To be successful, this requires both access to data and significant investment to support the depth and breadth of data analytics capacity and capability.

Yet, historically, one of the biggest barriers to value-based models has been providers’ and payers’ possessiveness of their own data. There is a good business reason for that possessiveness: competitive advantage. The different parts of the healthcare system do not want competitors to use shared data to steal business. But the guarding of data drives healthcare costs higher and, more importantly, makes delivering better, more personalized healthcare more difficult. In the past, power came from hoarding information; today, there is power in serving as an information hub.  Healthcare providers and payers are starting to understand this and there is more willingness to work together in sharing what has traditionally been closely held information.

As consumers’ voices gain in numbers and decibels, it’s clear that analytics technologies that can lead to better care at lower cost are desperately needed, particularly for payers. But the entire healthcare industry needs to move more rapidly. Health plans need to enrich, deepen and widen their analytics capabilities as quickly as possible. If they don’t, we will continue to see disruptors like Google, Apple, and Amazon enter the healthcare market—companies that have a demonstrated ability to be nimble and maximize the impact of their data.

For both providers and payers, forward-thinking organizations recognize that building their own data analytics solutions is not always the answer. Often there is not enough time, resources or enough of the right talent to deliver the capacity and capability required. Fortunately, robust turnkey solutions coupled with deployment expertise are available to efficiently and cost-effectively integrate data and analytics within an organization’s clinical, financial and administrative processes.

As health plan executives map out their strategic plans, look to these emerging technologies as accelerators for leveraging data to manage risk, optimize performance, engage consumers, enhance population care, and improve clinical outcomes to reduce readmissions and further drive evidence-based medicine. The opportunity is here to transform healthcare delivery in significant ways. Success will go to those organizations that understand the potential of these new technologies and take the lead to deploy them effectively—today. 

Brad Wilson is former CEO at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and is a member of the new CitiusTech Advisory Board. Mr. Wilson joined Blue Cross NC in 1995 as General Counsel and held a variety of senior-level positions before being named CEO in 2010. Under his leadership, Blue Cross NC grew to a $9 billion company serving over 3.8 million customers. Mr. Wilson has also served as Director of the BCBS Association, AHIP and numerous other national and state healthcare organizations.

 


More From Healthcare Informatics

/news-item/innovation/investors-have-strong-interest-hit-sector-despite-valuation-concerns

Investors Have Strong Interest in HIT Sector, Despite Valuation Concerns

December 13, 2018
by Heather Landi, Associate Editor
| Reprints
Click To View Gallery

Healthcare IT remains a hot investment sector despite concerns about these companies being overvalued, according to KPMG-Leavitt Partners 2019 Investment Outlook, a survey of health care investment professionals.

Looking ahead to 2019, more than a third of respondents (34 percent) said they were most interested in investing in health care IT, followed by care management (31 percent), home health (23 percent), retail-centric medical groups (22 percent) and primary care practices (21 percent).

New York City-based KPMG and Leavitt Partners, based in Salt Lake City, surveyed 175 respondents online from corporations, health systems, investment banks, venture capital and private equity firms between September 17, 2018 and October 21, 2018. Of those surveyed 32 percent were C-suite executives; 29 percent were principal, partner or managing director; 32 percent were vice president or director; 6 percent were analysts/associates and 2 percent held other titles.

“We are not surprised by the great deal of interest in health care IT and care delivery outside the hospital,” Governor Mike Leavitt, founder of Salt Lake City-based Leavitt Partners and former Utah Governor and U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary said in a statement. “As health care continues to march toward value, the emphasis on moving care to lower cost sites and enhanced coordination will continue, and those who can increase quality and lower cost will win.”

According to an October report from Rock Health, 2018 is already the most-funded year ever for digital health startups. Digital health funding in this past third quarter soared to $3.3 billion across 93 deals, pushing 2018 funding to $6.8 billion, already exceeding last year’s annual funding total, which was $5.7 billion, by more than a billion dollars.

Drilling down into respondents’ predictions for investment activity in 2019, in the health care and life sciences market, 96 percent of respondents see either a lot or a moderate amount of investment in health IT and data next year, while a similar percentage (90 percent) see significant or moderate investment in outpatient services. Forty-four percent forecast a lot of investment in post-acute care services, 39 percent predict significant investment in provider services and about a quarter of respondents believe there will be a lot of investment in managed public programs, payer service providers and pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers. Eighteen percent believe there will be significant investment in medical device and diagnostics and medical equipment.

The survey results indicate there is concern that health IT is overvalued, yet investors believe there is some room to climb.

The majority of investment professionals see health care IT investments as an overvalued sector (64 percent), yet 40 percent expect the valuations to increase in 2019 while 51 percent see them staying the same. About two-thirds of respondents (62 percent) think the health IT sector will grow faster than the market in 2019, and three quarters of investment professionals see increasing competition in the health IT market. Investors also estimate that the average purchase price multiple, in terms of EBITDA, will be 12.5 for the health IT sector in 2019. Survey respondents expect ongoing demand for tools to help with consumerism will impact investment and deal making in the sector, according to the survey.

About four in ten respondents believe the healthcare market is experiencing a “moderate bubble,” while 9 percent believe the bubble will likely burst.

Care management solutions for risk-bearing providers, a highly competitive sector which helps coordinate care of the chronically ill or seriously injured, are expected to be the second highest sector for investment behind health care IT, similarly driven by trends of consumerism and increased focus on early care interventions.

Looking at potential drivers of M&A activity in the health care and life sciences sector in the coming year, 64 percent of respondents cited cost consolidation and economies of scale, while 45 percent cited accretive acquisition strategies. Forty percent of respondents see changing payment models as a driver of M&A activity, and 38 percent cited pressure from competition. Other drivers cited by respondents include expansion/divestiture of service areas (25 percent), geographic expansion/contraction (24 percent), revenue synergies (22 percent), need to deploy cash on balance sheet (17 percent), and regulations and legislation (13 percent).

“Deals are largely being driven by the need for savings, economies of scale, and improving cash flow or accretive earnings per share,” Carole Streicher, Deal Advisory leader for healthcare & life sciences at New York City-based KPMG, said in a statement. “Secondarily, there is a bit of a defensive posture motivating investments as health care organizations contend with competition and reimbursement models connected to quality and efficiency, as well as the entrance of tech firms investing in the sector.”

 

Related Insights For: Innovation

/news-item/innovation/report-massachusetts-general-hospital-targeting-various-blockchain-use-cases

Report: Massachusetts General Hospital Targeting Various Blockchain Use Cases

December 7, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
| Reprints

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers are partnering with MediBloc, a Korean healthcare blockchain company, with the aim to improve patient data sharing and storing, according to an article in CoinDesk.

Per the article, the Laboratory of Medical Imaging and Computation by MGH and Harvard Medical School will be escalating research in a variety of broad areas “from medical image analysis to health information exchange by leveraging our cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning,” according to Synho Do who is the laboratory’s director.

Do specifically told CoinDesk, “In collaboration with MediBloc, we aim to explore potentials of blockchain technology to provide secure solutions for health information exchange, integrate healthcare AI applications into the day-to-day clinical workflow, and support [a] data sharing and labeling platform for machine learning model development.”

Interestingly, MGH won’t be using any real patient data for its research, but rather simulated data, according to officials, since the various institutions that have the real patient data keep it in a way “that can’t be shared securely and often is in various incompatible formats.”

MediBloc’s CEO noted that the company is not only developing a distributed ledger for storing and sharing medical data, but also working on a tool that would convert data now held by hospitals from existing formats to a universal one, per the article.

For this initiative, MediBloc has already gotten partners across Asia, including eight healthcare organizations and 14 technology companies, officials said.

Earlier this year, a testing environment version of the blockchain was launched, and the network is expected to go live before the end of the year before becoming fully functional in the second quarter of 2019. Furthermore, there are also apps in the works that are planning to go live next year, with one of them, currently in a beta testing phase, “designed for patients to sell the information about their symptoms and the prescriptions they get to MediBloc. After that MediBloc will analyze that data and sell the analysis to pharmaceutical and insurance companies,” according to the story.

In the end, the main goal of the blockchain project will be to let patients independently decide what to do with their information.

See more on Innovation

agario agario---betebet sohbet hattı betebet bahis siteleringsbahis