CSOHIMSS 2013, which took place last month in Cincinnati, brought together a mix of IT professionals, consultants, vendors, physicians, nurses, professors, and other health care professionals — all of whom most likely carried iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices. These universal gadgets were a primary focus of the conference, as well as patient engagement, how to get value from patient data, how to reduce admissions and how to leverage analytics to drive meaningful use with all of these factors in mind.
Here are our Top 3 Trends and Take A-ways from this year’s conference and items to pay attention to in the coming months in the Healthcare industry.
1. Clinical Mobility
The use of mobile technology in healthcare is allowing for big changes across the industry, from payers to patients to healthcare providers. This mobilization trend offers value to patients and providers, allowing patients to better engage in their health management, enabling connectivity and collaboration among clinicians, improving management of patients with chronic diseases, and enhancing payer-provider business services. Patient engagement using information technology capabilities also enables healthcare providers to better understand their health and health conditions, obtain access to their own health data in real time, improve communications with their doctors and providers, take more responsibility for health outcomes, and improve their experience of interacting with the health system. Coming a long way from the beepers of yesterday, Clinical Mobility is sure to be the way of the future for the healthcare industry.
2. Leveraging Analytics to drive Meaningful Use
Medical practitioners and healthcare organizations alike are faced with several hot button issues in trying to improve patient care while contending with rising costs and increasing competition. Hospitals face management hurdles in the form of monitoring physicians’ performance, emergency department management, ambulance diversion, resource planning and so on. Here are a few statistics that were given: Advanced Health Analytics penetration will increase from 10% in 2011 to 50% in 2016, a 37.9% growth rate (Frost & Sullivan.) 55% of providers planning to buy Business Intelligence (BI) tools over next 3 Years (KLAS.) And Only 15% of providers in the InformationWeek HCIT priority survey have implemented big data analytics initiatives (InformationWeek.) Achieving Meaningful Use through advanced analytics is not so much about getting stimulus payments in exchange for using an EMR, but setting the stage and changing behavior for value based purchasing and health care reform. It is all about the data and the information that is needed and will be used to improve healthcare.
3. Using Predictive Analytics and Targeted Interventions to reduce readmissions
Healthcare readmissions have been the target of quality based assessments by several insurance programs. Studies have revealed that on an average, 20% patients are readmitted within a month. About 50.2% of the readmitted patients don’t follow up with a primary care physician (PCP). Patients devoid of a PCP are more prone to readmission and 70% patients are back in hospital within 4 weeks of their operation for a medical condition such as pneumonia.
Going forward, hospitals that readmit patients within a month of their discharge will be penalized. Estimates show that 2,200 facilities will be affected as penalties of about $125,000 will be levied per facility. The penalty program under Section 3025 of the Affordable Care Act calculates the size of penalty using the ‘excess readmission ratio’ based on the 1-month readmission rates. The total sum of penalties assessed across the US is about $280 million for FY 2013. Patient engagement is a handy tool in bringing down readmission rates. A good example in this regard is the electronic health record (EHR) that is efficient in increasing communication between doctor and patient. For effective communication to take place, a health information exchange (HIE) also works well. Social media adoption too continues to mature as a platform for patients to not only find medical practitioners, but interact with them and engage in a fruitful dialogue pertaining to their individual medical care.
Business intelligence tools in the form of analytic reports and dashboards also play a vital role in reducing readmissions. They help hospitals focus on a wide array of readmission rates. Analytic models for forecasting readmission risk can be categorized into: Real-time administrative data and Retrospective administrative data. While analytic reports scrutinize crucial performance indicators affecting readmission rates, decision makers can track readmission rates on dashboards and take proactive steps to reduce readmissions and improve the bottom line.
A study shows that hospitals that employed predictive technology alongside effective transition programs saw a reduction of about 33% in readmissions. Automated readmission modules combine smart alert technology with advanced predictive analytic algorithms to alert physicians, case managers and at-risk patients through a personalized patient transition plan, which allows for effective real-time management of readmission cases.
Predictive Analytics, mobility and patient engagement seem to be at the forefront of today’s healthcare industry. How are you taking action to ensure that your business and patients are being better served for the future?