2017 Trends in Health IT

In September, I travelled to Chicago to attend Becker’s Health IT and Revenue Cycle Conference as part of my Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute Biodesign Fellowship needs gathering efforts. This is my first conference in this space so I was eagerly looking forward to diving into the perspectives of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and revenue cycle management on the provider side. My goal was to come out with a better understanding of the persona of the CIO leader, challenges in the organization, and trends in the industry. Here’s some takeaways and highlights from my trip.

  • Find a champion that can internally own and sponsor an initiative to increase chances of success. When possible, tie to closely to a direct customer benefit. Brent Stutz, VP at Cardinal Health Fuse, related an example of a challenging enterprise data warehouse and master data management project that lacked the sponsorship which resulted in two years of lost time.
  • If you want to see ROI with analytics, set aside budget to allow experimentation with the data. While there’s anticipation that everyone wants to understand the ROI for analytics, some organizations are not quite ready and lack a data governance process and structure in their organization to facilitate access to the data. In many places, analytics is a function of business intelligence (BI) processes that require stating a specific outcome. In light of accessibility of the data and advanced methodologies such as predictive analytics, AI, and machine learning, value exists where the beginnings can be more open ended when framing the opportunities.
  • So many balls to keep eyes on, what’s priority? Whether it’s the CIO or another leader in the organization, there’s the complexities and challenges of the volume of needs. A CFO may be looking at the costs of managing hundreds of vendors. A CIO may be looking at everything from integration to cybersecurity. In addition, the healthcare landscape continues to be put under cost pressures to produce the Triple-Aim. The CIOs are facing significant challenges to stay above the water in that changing landscape.
  • Population health success requires collaboration and integration. In a keynote, Dr. Shafiq Rab of Rush University Medical Center gave an inspiring story of how Rush addressed the homeless population. By working with homeless population that had mobile (or were given) access, the health system became accessible. A referral algorithm allowed care managers or social workers to nudge individuals to obtain treatment. Within the first 30 days, the outcome resulted in a $2.4 million in savings because 70 individuals did not utilize emergency care. On the technical side, the effort required integration spanning EMR system, cloud, mobile, BI, security, and social communications.
  • Transition from Fee-for-service (FFS) to Fee-for-value (FFV) in Value Based Care opens up payer-provider partnerships. The key point that John Wallace, COO of ACO Partners, made was that this transition is not just a change of contract. It’s a transformation in care delivery and patient health. The outcome requires partnership as patient outcomes are aligned with financial outcomes. Outside of accountable care organizations (ACOs), I’d be interested in understanding whether the dynamics are felt. As in the theme of Dr. Shafiq Rab’s talk, analytics is a key part of gaining insights to coordinate care, which is built upon significant technology investments. Additionally, it’d be interesting to understand who will drive the roadmap and how ownership aligns with the costs of the technology investments.
Four Pillars to Realize Success by John Wallace of ACO Partner
  • Insights and takeaways from Jonathan Manis, SVP of Sutter Health. On interesting trends, he sees disintermediated health experiences and EHRs selling to insurance, threatening hospitals who largely own patient data. On the evolution of the CIO role, the role will merge so business and technology will be more closely tied together. On challenges to this evolution, there’s a generation gap where the younger group wants to push for bigger changes while the other group looks to ride out the pressures of changes. On putting technologies to work easily, it comes down to the people who will use the technologies and how to communicate to the users.
  • Telemedicine is at the forefront for providers. Daniel Barchi, CIO of NY Presbyterian, presented several phases of digital health initiatives called NYP OnDemand. You can get a second opinion and virtually meet your doctor. I think the phased approach is what makes NYP successful when it came to bringing new technologies to market.

Did you attend #BeckersHIT2017? Please share your thoughts on insights and takeaways.