I recently had the opportunity to attend a trio of national and regional health industry events – and heard several panel discussions that focused on the evolution of healthcare and the resulting impact to payors, providers and patients. As another year comes to a close, I started to reflect on some of the common themes from these events – and some of the amazing advances in the world of health information technology.
As a huge music fan with a real love for all the British invasion bands that revolutionized the music landscape, I recalled some of the classic songs – and their titles – as I was considering the current state of healthcare industry. So as we look at wrapping up 2014, I put together a compilation of healthcare industry “greatest hits” that in my view reflect some of the top trends:
Revolution (The Beatles): While this Beatles song was originally inspired by the political protests of the 1960s, the sentiment of revolution is reflected in the healthcare industry today. The industry is transforming from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance. Technology is advancing at a rapid rate. As the industry continues to focus on patient engagement, population health and improved outcomes, the current model will continue to undergo dramatic shifts – revolutionizing care delivery in the future.
Going Mobile (The Who): Pete Townsend wrote this tune about the joys of the open road, but going mobile is a huge trend in the health industry today. While mobile health is still in its early days, there is enormous promise for mobile technology to better engage patients and clinicians. The development of applications like Apple Health and Twine Health – while in their early days – are demonstrating that this trend is real. For the new generations of ‘digital natives’ – who are raised in an environment of phones and tablets – mobile technology is an integral part of daily life and this trend will only continue over time.
Get On to My Cloud (Rolling Stones): Though the actual title of the song was “Get Off of My Cloud”, the trend in healthcare is to get onto the cloud. According to the most recent IDC Health Insights predictions, the majority of healthcare data – 80 percent – will pass through the cloud by 2020, as providers increasingly use the cloud for data collection, analytics and decision making. Providers and payors are finding that cloud benefits, including cost and scalability, can help improve the bottom line – furthering cloud adoption in this era of tight budgets.
Come Together (The Beatles): Originally released on Abbey Road, this Beatles song title is an apt reflection on the current state of the healthcare industry. Mergers and acquisitions are continuing at a rapid pace; provider/payor partnerships are continuing, and new alliances are forming. As these organizations come together, integration challenges will occur – but the longer term benefits of reduced cost and improved patient care will keep this trend in the forefront.
It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo Starr): While Ringo may have written this song as his first post-Beatles solo effort, the sentiment is true for the healthcare industry transformation. With all the amazing advances in technology, there are still hurdles to broad scale adoption. As many health systems have learned the hard way, EHR implementation – and demonstration of meaningful use – is a continual journey. And often times, it don’t come easy. The tsunami of heath information is pushing current boundaries, and effective information management strategies will be needed to avoid implementation bumps and hurdles. But, the industry as a whole is making great progress in the adoption of health information technology, and early results show great promise for the future.
Changes (David Bowie): As a reflection on the societal – and even personal – changes taking place at the time the song was written, the title of this David Bowie classic sums up the ever-evolving world of healthcare and technology. Disruptive forces are causing change across the landscape; providers are changing from a traditional hospital and ambulatory clinic setting to retail settings. New technologies are enabling patients to be more engaged in their health, and changing the way we interact with our clinicians. Changes abound – and will keep coming at a rapid pace.
So, as we turn the page on 2014 and begin the New Year, it’s also time to usher in a new era of music. As the music scene evolved from British Invasion to Disco, the song ‘Celebrate’ comes to mind. The many advances in health information technology give us much to celebrate – and much potential for the future.