Sunday, December 20, 2015

My 10 Predictions for Healthcare Data, Technology & Services in 2016

Everybody is making predictions about what's in store for healthcare and healthcare information technology and services in 2016. So here are my ten predictions:

1. Patient data is freed from EHR’s
Unstructured and semi-structured data previously locked in EHR’s will be made available via the increased use of HL7 standards and new API’s developed by 3rd parties and exposed by EHR vendors.

2. Value of unstructured data achieves widespread availability
Natural language processing, machine learning, advanced linguistics, and semantic web technologies come together to enable more people and firms to derive value from formerly difficult to access, consolidate and analyze unstructured data.

3. Quality measures are consolidated across government and commercial health plans

An organized movement will be made to normalize and consolidate various quality measures like HEDIS, PQRS, STARS, NCQA-PCMH – among others. Composite measures and measures based on patient surveys will grow.

4. Omni-channel customer service will gain a foothold

Health plans and large health systems will start to tie their multiple customer service and marketing channels together to enable a consolidated view of their customers.

5. IT departments are forced to operate bi-modally

A large part of traditional IT will be consolidated, commoditized and likely outsourced while tactical and strategic healthcare technology will be increasingly be run by non-IT executives. This bi-modal delivery approach will become widespread at forward-thinking companies in 2016.

6. Employers get aggressive with employee healthcare costs
Companies will “incent” their employees – either via carrots or sticks – to manage their healthcare costs. Telemedicine, on-site or near-site clinical services, mandatory second opinions, and plan-specific transparency tools will be primacy mechanisms for managing costs.

7. Financial Health Literacy will go mainstream

The focus that the ACA has brought to healthcare costs will force individuals to treat their healthcare expenditures more like their investment and retirement portfolios. People having plans with high-deductibles and other out of pocket costs will seek formal assistance much like going to a financial planner.

8. A couple high-profile startups will crack at the seams

Some high-profile, VC backed startups will begin to show their true value as their lack of membership and “cool” but incomplete technologies and business models fail to gain traction against incumbents who partner with non-traditional technology companies. (I have two in mind but I’ll keep them to myself for now)

9. Palliative care and hospice care will moderate wasteful spending at end of life

Advanced care planning will grow mainstream and people will start to realize that spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars during the final years or months of one’s life is morally, ethically and financially insane.

10. Cracks in the ACA will turn to fissures

After two complete years of operation, the reality that the ACA is an unsustainable program will finally come to light. The previously supportive main stream press will start to cover the extent of ACA issues.

What to do you think?
Do you agree with any of my predictions? 2016 is less than two weeks away. What are some of your predictions? For more information on healthcare data, technology and services, consider following me on Twitter where I share as @ShimCode.

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