We’re entering a new wave of healthcare technology deployment, and it’s going to be a gnarly one.
For the past 10 years, the industry has focused on getting up and running with electronic medical records. While the EMR wave has generated tremendous momentum, the timeframe for deployment in our nation’s hospitals extended from an anticipated four or five years to 10 to 15 years. That’s largely due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and the authorization of federal subsidies for Meaningful Use of EMRs.
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was the next federal mandate to impact healthcare technology by encouraging the shift from a fee-for-service model to a value-based care model. Accountable care organizations will extend the scope of patient care across the entire continuum, with more focus on quality metrics as well as clinical and financial accountability. As the healthcare industry grapples with the major changes inherent in the transition from volume to value, we’re starting to see the next wave taking shape.
At HIMSS16 a couple weeks ago, population health management was the hottest topic on the show floor. People are still using the term in many different ways, but I think most agree that population health management deals with managing healthcare delivery in a way that makes it more clinically effective, more cost effective, and with more of a focus on patient wellness and safety. At this point, there’s a tremendous amount of excitement in this relatively new space, with no clearly defined players or proof cases yet.
One thing is clear though: As population health management systems begin to shed light on the entire supply chain of healthcare, we will see just how poorly the whole system is performing. Healthcare currently does not do a good job of moving people in and out of hospitals, coordinating patient care, sharing patient information, reducing readmissions and so on. The sobering insights made apparent by new systems will drive efficiencies that ultimately improve care.
That’s where better communication and collaboration come in. With an increased focus on value, accountability and system automation, the industry’s interest in better care coordination is building. As population health management shines a light on breakdowns in efficiency, hospitals will start to understand how a healthcare communication platform deployed at scale throughout the enterprise can drive multiple efficiencies around the patient. It just makes sense to employ healthcare communication and collaboration systems as an underlying, fundamental technology to support the next technology wave.
Healthcare organizations, such as Voalte customer hospitals, that have already invested in these areas are well-positioned to realize tremendous dividends as they capitalize on the new value-based models.
Hang on as this next wave begins to build. It’s going to be a wild ride.
Trey Lauderdale is Founder and CEO of Voalte.