Josh Schoeller

Posted on: January 24, 2019

Picture this – just after the holidays, about to tackle the New Year and the national sales meeting, and off I go. Coat and rain boots in hand. I’m headed to the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference. And did I mention it’s in San Francisco in January? Rain and cold.

Here’s what I see: 40,000 “Type A” CEO and venture capitalists in a six block area over four days—some of the world’s best and brightest in healthcare – hope you reserved your hotel room last year because there’s none to be found. Top execs from all the big players in healthcare and all the ‘up and coming startups’ converge. Now even Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook…everyone wants to be in healthcare.

The local vendors are prepared as well. Save your pennies for an $18 cup of coffee, every restaurant and coffee shop is renting out their tables for on-the-spot meetings to occur. Even hotel lobbies are charging more than $500 to be able to sit for meetings. There is a definite buzz in the air.

Where else can you go and have 25 meetings in three days with all c-level executives and top VC and PE firms in healthcare?

Patient engagement and digital health/move to consumerism are the driving forces here.

As we push to a value based care model, everyone wants a piece of the pie.

Healthcare is the industry du jour and everyone wants a stake in where it’s headed and how we’ll get there.

The chatter is the coming together of people trying to solve the biggest problems and bring the best technology to transform our healthcare system, improve patient outcomes and foster a feeling of innovation in a system that’s historically been slow to innovate.

Last year brought a lot of change—from CMS mandates to mergers to debates over the ACA. What’s abundantly clear is the need to save money. Value based care has to find a way to couple with new technologies and platforms. Innovation has to come with a cost savings, not a big price tag.

Here are my thoughts…

Massive market consolidations

At the heart of value based care is the need to improve health outcomes. Health systems recognize they can better influence those outcomes if they control the patient’s com­plete healthcare journey. For that reason, we’re seeing deals between companies like CVS and Aetna, and Walmart and Humana, which bring a giant drugstore chain, phar­macy benefit manager, clinic operator and insurer together under one roof.

Consumerism

Consumers used to have limited choices for healthcare. A sin­gle plan typically had a PPO and an HMO; pick one. Now health plans offer dozens of choices along with a wide range of deduct­ibles. Consumers benefit by being able to purchase a health plan that more closely fits their needs.

Increased transparency

Access to information about the price and quality of healthcare services can help consumers make better decisions about their care.

Blockchain technology

The promise to connect multiple data sources, track all transactions across the chain, and then publish the resulting information can help health systems increase efficiencies and make data-driven decisions.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI will have a positive impact in delivering care in less costly manners. Through its deep learning, it is becoming increasingly useful in diagnosing disease and developing pre­cise care plans and wellness programming.

As all of these different pieces come together, HIT will play a vital role in help­ing healthcare organizations execute, track and measure their progress toward value based care.

Our recent focus group of hospital CIOs is a perfect example. They are trying to keep up with EMR stabilization while Apple is touting the latest wearable to integrate with AI. What the future holds we’ll see. These players have value to bring and the platforms and capabilities to make big change. The question is, is healthcare ready? One thing is for sure, information and analytic insights will be a key vehicle to get us there.

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