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The Top 3 Healthcare Trends from HIMSS 2018

March 29, 2018 BY Colin Madigan, Director of Client Engagement

The Top 3 Healthcare Trends from HIMSS 2018

The HIMSS Conference signaled the start of Definitive Healthcare’s 2018 conference season. We sent thirteen of our most knowledgeable and vivacious team members to Las Vegas to discover what healthcare industry trends are dominating our clients’ conversations. The debut of our new, expanded booth was a great success—we engaged with more than 350 of our fellow attendees (with the help of our in-booth keg) and gained a deeper understanding of the challenges our clients are struggling with.

Here are the three things we heard HIMSS attendees talk about most:

  1. Interoperability
  2. Improving Quality Measures and the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)
  3. Population Health

Our team most frequently grappled with the following questions:
How can providers stay on top of rapid technology and regulatory changes while delivering high-quality care?
What do medical device companies and other suppliers need to know about their prospects’ pain points?

Here is what we know about the impact of these healthcare trends using Definitive Healthcare data.

Interoperability

New players are constantly entering the healthcare space, disrupting the continuum of care by offering new solutions to existing problems. Technology is rapidly evolving and changing the way providers deliver care, from electronic health record (EHR) systems to telehealth to medical transportation apps. How can providers most effectively leverage electronic data sharing to manage patient care and prevent miscommunication?

According to Definitive Healthcare data, there are 7,400 ACOs, HIEs, and CINs in the U.S.—yet only 25 percent have implemented a data sharing and management system.

Top 5 Data Management Systems Vendors by Implementations:

  1. Epic: 562
  2. Medicity: 363
  3. Cerner: 188
  4. Meditech: 116
  5. Allscripts: 76

This highlights an industry-wide need for interoperable solutions that facilitate care coordination regardless of where patients seek care. While each solution functions well on its own, providers continue to struggle with how to streamline and optimize these technologies to “talk” to each other, seamlessly communicating with patient data to any provider.

Improving Quality Metrics

All providers want to deliver high-quality care to patients, whether as a primary care physician or a specialist. Financial incentives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have further emphasized the importance of providing cost-effective care with minimal complications and reduced 30-day readmissions.

While electronic health record (EHR) systems have made data collection and aggregation easier, it doesn’t help providers understand their performance relative to other providers in the same region or serving similar patient populations. The Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and, now, the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) are enabling physicians to compare their own performance to that of their peers.  According to Definitive Healthcare data, more than 636,000 physicians—approximately 40 percent—participated in PQRS before it became MIPS last year.

For many, it is easiest to understand care types and quality metrics through a visual medium. Using Definitive Healthcare’s Visual Dashboards, clients can analyze care types for hospitals at a glance.

Care by Provider Type Patient Universe
Fig 1 Visual Dashboard for Care by Provider Type at Massachusetts General Hospital. Data from Definitive Healthcare.

Definitive Healthcare also offers a visual dashboard for quality performance. Clients can gain a deeper understanding of value-based purchasing, readmission rates, and hospital-acquired conditions data by region, state, and other filters.

Value-based purchasing performance
Fig 2 Quality Performance Visual Dashboard, displaying value-based purchasing (VBP) performance data for 2017.

Having access to this data enables vendors and service providers to cater their solutions to hospitals and other facilities to improve specific quality performance scores.

Population Health

Evaluating and managing population health is complex, involving various methods of data collection and reporting. A single solution has evaded providers, due to various market factors. The primary barrier to population health management is that there is no “silver bullet” solution that enables providers to collect, analyze, and report data in an efficient and actionable way.  Every facility faces distinct challenges in gathering patient data—including differing technologies and data collection strategies.

5 Keys to Population Health Management:

  • Clinical & quality insights
  • Big data and analytics
  • Illness identification
  • Patient engagement
  • Preventative care

The varying methods providers use to analyze and manage patient health data is leading to a more nuanced and dynamic view of successful population health management. A major component of this new understanding is acknowledging that patients have greater access to health-related technologies than ever before. This allows individuals to take a more active role in their own health and overall wellness.

Because there is such a vast amount of data required to understand a community’s health and wellness needs, interoperability is key. The use of EHR systems is just the first step toward compiling patient data in a secure, accessible place—however, in-person communication is as important as digital file sharing. Physicians should be in regular contact with nurses in the same facility. Nurses are on the front lines as the first providers to evaluate patients on arrival. This gives nurses an advantage in identifying population health trends before physicians, without the use of data collection and analytics software.

These are just three of the healthcare trends we experienced at HIMSS 2018. To learn more about how to leverage healthcare data to improve sales opportunities, register for my upcoming webinar on April 3.

Blog co-written by Kate Shamsuddin.

Visit the Definitive Blog to read more about how to Control Supply Chain Costs, Manage Patient Care Data While Reducing Physician Burnout, and leverage a variety of healthcare industry data.