Health Care Data Trends to Watch In 2024

By Innovista Health Feb 13, 2024
Health Data Trends for 2024

With the introduction of electronic medical records and the expansion of telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, health care technology seems more familiar than ever. It is easy to forget that health care is a relative newcomer to the tech arena, lagging other industries like banks and airlines.

Still, health care stakeholders and entities are making strides to integrate technology smoothly and leverage the vast amounts of data they can access. Jonathan Owens, chief analytics officer at Innovista Health, offers an insider’s perspective on some of the health care data and technology trends to watch for in 2024 and beyond.

Continued Shift to Value-Based Care

Value-based care (VBC) has been a health care buzzword for several years as the industry pivots away from fee-for-service models. The shift to value-based care has been steady, but slow. However, momentum should accelerate this year.

“We’re continuing to see many organizations and health systems that have incorporated a lot of providers starting to run out of money. They’re quickly realizing that fee-for-service just does not work,” Owens says. “There’s going to be a more intentional shift toward value-based care.”

Some administrative load still exists, but this move will alleviate part of the stress and burden providers and payers feel. Rather than focusing on a checklist during each patient encounter, providers can concentrate more on delivering holistic care to patients. Additionally, payers can forgo analyzing individual services in favor of paying providers a set amount for the delivery of care.

Efforts to Streamline Prior Authorization

Technology will also improve member experience with Medicare Advantage this year. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a mandate in January that could simplify health data exchange and the prior authorization process for patients and providers.

“This is historically a very painful exercise for doctor’s offices and for members waiting to see if they can have a surgery or receive another service they need,” he says. “This new policy will make prior authorization more seamless to improve member experience.”

Under this new rule, payers must implement a prior authorization application programming interface (API). This tool will automate the authorization process, making it easier for payers to manage all prior authorization requests electronically. The mandate also requires payers to process all urgent requests within 72 hours and non-urgent requests within seven calendar days.

Home Monitoring for Chronic Care Management

The days of waiting for a doctor’s appointment for a blood pressure reading, glucose level check, or even a quick heart rate measurement are rapidly fading. Today, patients enthusiastically embrace home monitoring and wearable technologies like smartwatches that gather their health data around the clock.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one in three American adults track some aspect of their health with a wearable device—and more than 80% feel comfortable sharing that health data with providers.

Between 2020 and 2021, the number of patients using wearable devices nearly doubled, and that amount continues to climb. These devices empower patients to be more active partners in their health care. They also arm providers with valuable data that can improve chronic care management.

“These devices are small and accessible, and they’re getting easier to use,” Owens says. “The health data from these devices will be key to helping providers follow a patient’s condition over time and make treatment recommendations and changes.”

But the biggest impact of this data will be in research. Researchers could use anonymized patient health care data to analyze chronic conditions better, make predictions about patient outcomes, and design better treatment methods.

Improved Interdisciplinary Collaborations

In the years to come, health care tools and gathered data also have the potential to improve interdisciplinary collaborations between primary care providers and specialists. If a patient needs specialty care, their primary care provider will likely have more individualized information to help with diagnosis and treatment.

“In the past, moving patients from one provider to another was a cold transfer. Primary care doctors would simply pass along a progress note to the specialist,” Owens explains. “With all the health care data now available—and greater interoperability standards—they can send a progress note and a log of what the patient has been doing all in real-time.”

Specialists can potentially use this information to select the most effective therapies more easily for each patient. This coordination could lead to greater cost savings.

AI in Health: Expansion Continues

The idea of artificial intelligence (AI) in health care triggers mixed reactions. Yet, it continues to be an area of technological development to watch.

“AI has gotten a lot of visibility, but we should not be looking to it to make life or death decisions,” Owen says. “We will never get to the point where we trust AI more than we trust a human, but we need to be cognizant that AI can be a supportive tool to make providers more efficient if it’s enhanced and used properly.”

When implemented correctly, AI in health can bolster care in substantial ways.

Data Analysis & Prediction

It is already well known that AI can evaluate vast volumes of health data with greater precision than the human eye. Consequently, these tools can detect and alert providers to anomalies in images or identify subtle trends that emerge in a patient’s long-term health data.

Doctors won’t use these tools for diagnosis or to specifically direct treatment decisions. But with continued refinement, they will provide relevant insights that can help design the most comprehensive, holistic treatment plans.

Health Equity

AI also has the potential to identify which patients face social determinants of health that interfere with their access to care.

“These are sensitive topics, and many people may be reluctant to say they can’t afford their medications or that English isn’t their first language,” Owens says. “Because they aren’t forthcoming, they may not get the care they need. Fortunately, there are AI tools that can help.”

For example, AI can analyze typing patterns in chat-based patient interactions. Based on a person’s syntax or typing mistakes, AI can determine whether a patient might benefit from an interpreter or provider who speaks their first language.

The Innovista Impact

Innovista is an effective partner that can help providers enjoy the full positive benefits of these health care and data trends. By working with new vendors and building new partnerships, Innovista is designing solutions to help practices maximize their use of health data.

“At Innovista, we’re here to provide financial and operational support for providers through education, consultation on practice, and sharing best practice workflows,” Owens said. “We’re being very strategic and intentional with our current technology, and we’re making sure we’re leveraging it in the right ways and that it’s working for our providers.”