First 60 Days of 2017: Three Things the Health Care Industry has Learned
It’s been a pivotal first two months of 2017 for the health care industry. There is a lot of uncertainty in the industry as a new health care bill has been introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act. However, the industry witnessed and experienced several trends that will set the course for the rest of the year. My team began the new year at the J.P. Morgan Health Care Conference, the largest and most informative health care investment symposium in the industry. As we listened to speakers and met with attendees, the overall tone at the conference was both cautious and optimistic. We’ve also seen reports, surveys and industry movements that reveal this will be a roller coaster year of highs and lows. But health care leaders are more committed than ever to identify and provide solutions to improve the cost, access and quality of care for Americans. Here are three things that I have observed this year:
1. Data drives innovation and cuts costs
Health care innovation is dependent on data. Cutting health care costs is also dependent on data. Now, using patient data to inform providers is nothing new. Clinical and non-clinical health leaders both seek to leverage data to drive innovative improvements in models of care.
This year the industry is focused on how we can move from collecting data to turning it into actionable and useful information. The amount of data is overwhelming and where the industry has struggled is figuring out how to decipher the high-volume of data, build the strategy from the analysis, plan and execute it to improve processes and measure results.
The industry has made efforts to hire data scientists and the top analytics talent to realize the full potential of collecting data. In fact, Glassdoor has recognized “data scientist” as the top job of 2016 and 2017. It’s critical for the health care industry to leverage these positions as create value out of raw data. HiMSS also released its Workforce and Leadership Study and health IT workforce investments continue to increase. Access to knowledge in real-time provides a more complete view into care coordination and outcomes-based reimbursement, population health management, and patient engagement and outreach.
Not only does data give power to the industry, but also to the patient. Patients are in more control of their health care decision based on access to their health data. A recent Journal of AHIMA report emphasized its importance on patients to have access to data as they are able to better manage their health, make sure information is accurate and share their information with other providers. Patients have the right and ability to personalize their health care experience.
2. Technology is critical for personalized medicine
The term personalized medicine, also known as precision medicine, means different things to different people. I view personalized medicine as treatment that is informed by each patient’s unique clinical, genetic, and environmental information as well as on-demand solutions that help a patient understand and manage their health. It’s all about making the treatment as individualized as the disease and that patient and it starts with lab testing to understand the genetic makeup. A 2017 HIMSS Analytics survey found that personalized medicine will be a “primary topic of interest across the industry in 2017” and beyond as providers seek to bring tailored treatments to their patients. Traditional lab testing, can only go so far to advance the evolution of personalized medicine. Telehealth and digital health tools, in combination with laboratory testing, play a critical role in providing personalized medicine to meet the patient demand.
Patients have expectations of their providers and want timely and accurate services related to their diagnosis. Clinicians need to understand the pathway to treatment, quickly, and cannot wait on lab testing results that will take weeks to receive. Telehealth bridges the gaps between the test, diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. For example, a 2016 peer-reviewed journal study evaluated how telehealth impacted personalized medicine. It found that patient remote monitoring shows promise in helping patients achieve and maintain their health goals, which resulted in a lower incidence of avoidable hospitalizations.
Because of telehealth lab testing and remote monitoring, clinicians view, in real-time, tests and patient reports to design treatments suited to each patient. The direct access to testing and timely communications with patients through telehealth platforms, allows patient and clinicians to efficiently collaborate on a personalized treatment plan.
This integration of data, telehealth, and personalized medicine requires that the health care industry identify and pursue partnerships that will evolve the model.
3. To improve a care, we must partner
The theme of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference was “Partnering with the Health Care Industry into the Future,” which was fitting for 2017. Analyte Health was encouraged and inspired by the collaborative dialogue among attendees during the conference. We all want to improve care and have realized we must invest in partnerships and work together to move the needle.
PwC Health Care has also reported that 2017 will be a milestone year for industry partnerships. We can expect to see the health industry continue to consolidate through mergers and acquisitions and an uptick in alternative transactions, such as joint ventures, partnerships, strategic alliances, and clinical affiliations.
You see this happening in the market with companies like Teladoc, a leading provider of telehealth services, and I’m proud to say that we are now one of their partners. During the J.P. Morgan Conference, Teladoc and Analyte announced our new partnership in which Teladoc will deliver Analyte Health’s integrated lab diagnostics services through their telehealth platform. Partnerships like the one between Teladoc and Analyte Health are an example of how companies are pivoting and partnering where necessary to keep up with the quickly evolving expectations of today’s patients.
Optimistic outlook for 2017
The first 60 days of 2017 flew by with movement and thoughtful conversation about emerging trends and progress that will define the rest of the year. Data, personalized medicine, and partnerships will be the leading drivers for health care’s transition to a more patient-centered approach to care.
There has never been a more exciting time to work in health care, and here at Analyte Health, we are especially excited for what’s to come, regardless of how things shape out policy-wise.
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Thanks for reading,