There was a time, really not so long ago, when definitions were clear across the U.S. healthcare system: everyone knew what a provider was; everyone knew what a health plan or insurer was; what an association was; what a consulting firm was; what a vendor was. Just as it was in Dr. Pangloss’s world in “Candide,” everything was in order and everyone was happy (and of course, as we all know, things never were precisely thus, even in “Candide”!)—or at least, things seemed “clear.”
Well, no more. As of the first quarter of 2017, we’re seeing health plans create IT solutions in order to support the population health and accountable care contracts that they’re building with physician groups and hospital systems; well-known integrated hospital systems that are already dominant in their local and regional healthcare markets creating test-bed entities in which they’re developing healthcare IT solutions that they’re then spinning off as for-profit ventures; associations and alliances building entire service lines that including not only in-house consulting firms, but also IT solutions that those associations and alliances are marketing as packages along with the consulting services, to their member provider organizations.
What’s more, even within the healthcare IT software sector, the divide that once appeared to be unbridgeable between software solutions designed for the provider (hospital and physician group) sector and the health plan/insurer sector, has become blurred, with vendors creating solutions that speak to both sectors, and in some areas like data analytics, designed to help health plans and providers that are working together on accountable care and population health.
The reality is that all of these shifts around vendor solutions are taking place in the context of a rapidly evolving landscape. Inevitably, with the forward evolution of value-based care delivery and payment systems, a lot of the old distinctions that had held fast within fee-for-service healthcare in the U.S. healthcare system are eroding now. Health insurers and providers are collaborating on population health, and in order to do that successfully, inevitably, they are attempting to bridge what historically has been a very big gulf between how health plans and providers operated, and even what kinds of data they once worked with.
Now, there is common ground in terms of insurers and providers needing to marry clinical and claims data, analyze both types of data together to gain insights into covered populations, and then plow the analysis of that data into care management programs—on both the plan and provider sides. So really, it’s a new—or at least emerging—world.
We at Healthcare Informatics have been following all of these trends for years, of course. And more specifically, through our Healthcare Informatics 100 process, which has taken place for years, we’ve been tracking the up-and-down (and transverse) movements of healthcare IT vendors in the U.S. It’s been a fascinating process every year, with vendors moving up, sometimes moving down, and with the massive boom in the healthcare industry overall, and dramatic changes in the healthcare system, compelling investments in healthcare information technology, on the part of all the major stakeholder groups in U.S. healthcare.
In short, the information we compile every year in our Healthcare Informatics 100 compendium provides the industry with a snapshot of what’s going on with vendors in the U.S. healthcare space. It remains unique, and uniquely important.
And thus, it’s very important for healthcare IT vendors to participate, both for the satisfaction they can gain from being a part of this unique industry compendium, and also because it helps us help our readers make sense of this rapidly evolving landscape.
And with regard to that, now’s a great time, if you haven’t already done so, to submit your data to this year’s Healthcare Informatics 100 process. It’s easy and quick—and here’s the link. We very much look forward to hearing from you! You definitely don’t want to be left out—this is one of the most-read pieces of content we produce every year.
We look forward to your submission, and to presenting the 2017 Healthcare Informatics 100 to our readers and the industry in our May issue. Thanks in advance for joining us, and we know you’ll be interested to see what this year’s list looks like.