With the new year now upon us, commercial insurers are doubling down on value-based care. As employers, along with their employees, continue to be squeezed by the cost of healthcare insurance, commercial payers are responding accordingly. In fact, arguably the most impactful relationship in healthcare is an employer to an employee, as employers have leverage and will drive better health. Employers recognize that the true solution is not spreading around the cost of premiums, but rather driving down the cost of care. As employers continue to advocate for changes to healthcare delivery that address cost containment, payers will be forced to turn to providers and demand innovation.
As 2017 comes to a close and we look towards 2018, we took the opportunity to reflect on the past year and review the major happenings in the industry via a recent complimentary webinar. Instead of prognosticating what 2018 will hold, we offered practical initiatives that should be focal areas for healthcare delivery organizations in 2018. We compiled insights gleaned from our market research conducted through attending industry conferences, gathering healthcare executive perspectives, and observing what is occurring in practice, to distill the key areas of focus for 2018.
With the fall healthcare IT conference season now complete, we documented our impressions and insights from these events in the articles that follow below. It was clear from the CHIME Fall CIO Forum that the role of the healthcare CIO is evolving from tech champion to the person that holds the organization together. During the MEDITECH Fall Physician & CIO Forum, topics discussed included exploration of new revenue streams to succeed in a value-based healthcare model, MACRA in 2018, interoperability, surveillance, and patient engagement. At the PCMH Congress, the NCQA shared the redesign of their PCMH recognition process, which reduces criteria from 167 factors in 2014 to 100 this year.
We are in the midst of a busy fall conference season for healthcare IT. Conferences provide the opportunity for our team to re-connect with clients, provide updates on our latest solution offerings, and gain an appreciation for market intelligence, as we attempt to anticipate the needs of our clients in a shifting health IT space. We documented our impressions and insights and invite you to review in the blogs that follow below. Key themes in each of the conferences were continued consolidation through M&A in both the vendor and provider space – driving data migration & archival needs, optimization of EMR/EHR to derive untapped productivity and efficiency increase – as well as to improve clinical quality, and deeper collaboration between providers, payers & employers as the consumer/member/patient bears an ever-increasing share of costs.
It’s been an eventful month, not only for healthcare IT, but also given the recent hurricanes Harvey & Irma that inflicted devastation in Texas, Florida and many other communities. Millions in the southeast United States remain without power and countless are in need. Despite the massive obstacles faced, it is inspiring to see the resolve in communities banding together to help those in need and begin the recovery. Every single action and contribution helps and there are many outlets that are accepting resources. Please join us in supporting their efforts.
This week, our executive team will convene in Chicago, as we formulate strategy for the year ahead, and synthesize services and solutions to meet our clients evolving needs. While in Chicago, we are taking the opportunity to celebrate our clients through a client appreciation event, held on Wednesday, 8/9 from 5-8PM CDT at Siena Tavern. Fueling our leadership team’s discussion this week, it’s been long anticipated that there would be consolidation in a crowded and somewhat fragmented EMR/EHR application market, but also from the healthcare delivery organization perspective as well. To achieve scale and sustainability in the transition from fee-for-service to value-based-care, M&A is inevitable.
With the weather heating up and improved use of EMRs top of mind for Healthcare Delivery Organizations (HDOs), we’ve intensified our resource development to assist groups in deriving more value from their EMR investment. We’ve surveyed industry thought leaders and gathered they’re invaluable perspectives, as they’ve successfully navigated optimization to transform their EMR from required repository to strategic asset. It’s clear that above and beyond ROI, improved usability and clinician engagement are the keys to success when it comes to EMR optimization.
Faced with downward cost pressures, a full slate of initiatives including optimization, PHM, and FFS to VBC transition, more and more HDOs are pursuing outsourcing application support as part of a managed services strategy or as an interim solution for EMR or EHR transition. According to the 2017 HIMSS Annual Workforce Survey, “60% of healthcare provider respondents indicated their organization outsourced at least some of their IT staffing needs to a vendor or consultant rather than hiring staff directly.”
As EMR adoption approaches maximum levels, healthcare delivery organizations are refining EMR strategy from a short-term clinical documentation data repository to a long-term asset with substantial functionality surrounding clinical decision support, health maintenance planning and quality reporting. A recent KPMG survey of CHIME members found that at least 38% of CIOs are investing in EHR optimization projects this year. HDOs in pursuit of EMR optimization must recognize that EMRs deliver value when data can be leveraged to drive strategic decisions, improve patient care and control costs.
Signifying warmer weather and new beginnings, Spring is a hopeful time, a chance to start fresh. We bear witness to this theme in healthcare information technology as CIOs are forced to rationalize their application portfolio with downward cost pressures. To this regard, HCOs are pursuing consolidation through sunset of legacy systems, data migration and archival. Further, as we head toward value-based reimbursement, the role of the CIO is changing from managing the infrastructure and basic IT initiatives to a strategic position that demands maintaining patient satisfaction and better quality of care. The business model and the care model are becoming increasingly intertwined.
Fresh from our annual pilgrimage to HIMSS, we are buzzing with activity and looking forward to the warmer weather of the spring months after being teased with Florida sunshine.The event validated our focus on navigating clients through EMR & EHR transition – serving as stewards of the data whether it’s data migration to the new platform, or legacy application sunset and archival. In addition, we witnessed a change in sentiment concerning the cloud. The anxiety regarding the cloud that was prevalent for the past 2+ years has diminished as providers and HCOs have embraced vendor hosted EHR & EMR solutions.
In a couple of short weeks, we will migrate south with about 40,000 like-minded individuals to attend the big healthcare IT confab in Orlando – HIMSS17. We invite you to stop by booth #4448 and say hello. In preparation for the event, our staff collaborated and crafted HIMSS17 guides, offering tips to navigate the conference and providing a look at key sessions. We’ve also been working feverishly on development and aggregation of complimentary resources for our clients, and as such, we present our top 10 favorite health IT resources. We cap off our Newsletter by recognizing and featuring recent employee promotions and certifications.
With 2017 now upon us, many wonder what the New Year has in store for healthcare IT. In our featured article, we offer a look back on our 2016 predictions and have provided our prognostications for what 2017 will hold. As you’ll note in our predictions, we anticipate further consolidation, both in the provider and vendor community, driving M&A. As such, we predict that healthcare organizations will continue to address needs from a data migration and archival perspective. In addition, as a sign of our commitment to being the best possible industry resource, we are excited to offer a fresh round of complimentary webinars. Topics cover a range of important industry issues including legacy application support, data archival strategy, business continuity, and data migration.
The recent election results have created quite a bit of conversation of how a new administration will affect our industry, and specifically what it implies for healthcare reform and healthcare IT. We’ve published our own musings on this topic as you’ll see in the newsletter article below. Regardless of the potential future implications, Galen remains committed to maintaining our laser focus on our clients as well as striving to remain as your trusted source of information and expertise on market trends.
Despite the tremendous value that EHRs can create, they are not being used to their full capacity. Currently, EHRs serve more as a “system of record” rather than a “system of engagement” that produces actionable insights to transform care delivery models. As a result, mergers and acquisitions, vendor consolidations, dissatisfaction with applications and other factors have followed and compelled healthcare organizations to optimize and/or replace their clinical systems.