Technology Adoption & Community-Supported Healthcare Continue to Gain Momentum
While much of the American healthcare sphere has been occupied by COVID-19, innovation in healthcare outside of the pandemic has continued. Techniques and practices that have been gaining momentum on the fringes are being deployed on increasingly larger scales. Many of these solutions follow the same principles as the value-based care model. Below, we will review eight strong trends in the healthcare space and the impact they could have.
1) Healthy Habits Double as Preventative Care
The cost of healthcare continues to rise almost entirely unchecked and healthcare leaders are looking to “strong population health programs and preventive care initiatives as a way to keep patients healthy and avoid chronic conditions that drive up drug and medical services expenditures” (managedhealthcareexecutive.com). The trend towards general “wellness” and awareness of activities and behaviors that support wellness, especially among millennials, assists in preventing or delaying chronic conditions. This results in better health for patients and a lesser need for healthcare spending. Data collection and community health programs can act as a starting point for providers to gain a more holistic view of their patients’ health, even while outside the office.
2) Data: A Must-Use in Modern Healthcare
Data collection and interpretation is critical to the adoption and success of value-based reimbursement. The healthcare market continues to shift towards value-based care, and while it has been slow, it has been aided by the commitment of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement an increasing number of value-based programs, such as Alternative Payment Models (APMs) and the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) more recently. Providers who are unable or unwilling to adapt and integrate large-scale data collection and analysis will not succeed in coming years. According to Scott D. Hayworth, who is president and CEO of CareMount Medical in Chappaqua, New York, “Patients are demanding, and payers are rewarding more cost-effective, versatile, and accessible systems of care.” Organizations offering data management services to provider partners will become invaluable resources as technology further cements its role in healthcare.
3) AI Supports Individual Solutions
AI has played an increasingly important role in healthcare as the technology has developed. As reports from entities such as CMS indicate that new ACOs are not saving money across the board, individual solutions tailored to the needs of each entity are being considered. AI has the capability to review large data sets and glean impactful, targeted insights about very specific subsets of the population. This technology can be applied to not only guide and impact patient care but the success of individual ACOs participating in value-based models as well.
4) Social Determinants of Health Meet Healthcare
Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) have long been promoted as the next game-changer in healthcare and enough organizations have thrown their weight towards addressing these key factors at this point in time that we will likely begin to see the results of their efforts. Don McDaniel, CEO of Canton & Company, a Baltimore healthcare consultant, estimates that “integrated delivery systems that are at risk for the cost of caring for populations are in the strongest position to tackle SDoH projects.” Collaborations between health systems and community programs that address issues of food insecurity, insufficient or inappropriate housing, and social services, among other challenges, will continue to grow in popularity as organizations recognize the cost savings associated with improved physical, mental, and social health.
5) Technology: Bringing Care Where It Is Most Needed
Data analytics and AI can take SDoH data and turn it into actionable plans to impact various aspects of a community’s health. Kurt Waltenbaugh, founder and CEO of Carrot Health, a Minneapolis SDoH and health data company, says “More data will help us better understand how to remove those barriers and pinpoint healthcare down to the individual consumer level.” As access to individual consumer data increases, organizations can build a clearer picture of the issues not only impacting the individual but their community as well.
6) Comprehensive Care Teams Promote Medication Adherence
Medication adherence is an issue that affects countless patients and providers. Patients run the risk of causing serious damage to their own health by not adhering to medication schedules and providers absorb the cost of preventable hospitalizations. Care Management programs are impactful, but including pharmacists in the patient-provider relationship could prove to be the final piece of the puzzle. “By realizing the value of pharmacists and incorporating them to provide [a] patient-centered care model, they can help to reduce costs, ensure safe and accurate medication therapy, and help prevent patient readmissions and chronic disease progression,” says Varun Goyal, co-founder and CEO of Indiana-based Illuminate Health.
7) Protecting Data While Keeping It Accessible
The impact that data has had on all aspects of life as it has grown and advanced is incredible, particularly in the healthcare sphere. Challenges have presented themselves, however, and data breaches have plagued organizations with unfortunate regularity. Data in healthcare is not going anywhere, and neither are concerns surrounding patient privacy. As a result, data security has come to the forefront of many technology discussions within health systems. Finding the balance between data accessibility, and by extension actionability, and consumer privacy continues to present a challenge and will likely require multi-industry cooperation.
8) Out-Patient Facilities Reduce Unnecessary Emergency Expense
One of the most under-estimated barriers to preventative healthcare is accessibility of care. Whether it is an issue of physical distance or a lack of time, a large number of individuals forego medical care simply because it is out of reach. Outpatient facilities such as urgent care clinics have been established to alleviate this issue. “Even health systems have jumped on the trend by partnering with retailers or opening their own outpatient facilities” (managedhealthcareexecutive.com). The primary reason these outpatient facilities have grown in popularity is that they help to keep healthcare costs lower by treating non-emergency ailments in a non-emergency setting when previously patients may have had to go to an emergency department as it was the only care they could access.
Innovista Health Solutions is a population health management company that offers management and support services to guide independent physician networks, medical groups, and health systems through the ever-changing landscape of value-based care. With services and toolsets including network development, population health management, delegated services, data reporting, and strategic capital investments, Innovista is structured to help its clients succeed in their Commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid value programs. Innovista is a single resource for physician integrated models to gain access to innovative technology, expert programs, actionable data insights, financial resources, and growth opportunities, to navigate and succeed in value-based and/or risk-based contracts.
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