Subscription / direct pay / cash-based practices
Consumers, with little choice in healthcare, find it difficult to speak with their wallets and choose their provider. Similarly, providers have even fewer options. It’s no wonder that subscription medicine and cash-based medical practices are growing in popularity for both providers and patients (more below). These care models align incentives and are transparent throughout to put your mind at ease. Geared towards those who have the ability to pay extra for better services, today, the majority of these care models bank on the pocketbooks of the middle to upper class with great deals available at certain times of the year. However, emerging data sets show the success of this model is also possible for under-served populations, as well.
The gravy train of meaningful use (MU) is over. The effect of MU was a significant, artificial, driver of adoption for a few EHRs (Electronic Health Records). Today, digital health records are the standard. As we move through 2018, keep an eye on EHRs and healthcare costs will come down after massive capital expenditures are written down. Likewise, you’ll want to consider how clinicians adjust to this brave new world. Read more about my 2018 predictions for the post-EHR world.
Clinicians as Developers
EHR and the wave of health IT left out clinicians and drove the early technological decisions. However, now clinicians are being brought into software development helping to design and build the next wave of technology to be brought to healthcare. "The trick to this whole thing is you can listen to them say ‘Here are my pain points’ and you can build a solution to that, but it kind of goes back to that 'If you listened to people a hundred years ago they’d say ‘We want a horse that would run faster," read more here.
The Real Cloud
HIMSS 2018 will for the first time see the distributors of EHR vendors challenged by the equally massive booths of public cloud service providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. This is the canary in the coalmine moment for healthcare, not just for the adoption of the real cloud over simple virtualization, but also in the fragmentation of infrastructure and services managed by third parties for healthcare delivery organizations. Learn more about the real cloud in healthcare.
Beyond digital health hype
Digital health has been hyped for a long time as a savior for healthcare. Unfortunately, healthcare is not that simple and no savior exists to untangle us from our current mess of a system. Technology, for technology’s sake, is not going to fix healthcare. While we’ve witnessed incredible enthusiasm around new technologies disrupting healthcare, we’re also now seeing some public failures, like the recent acquisition/fire sale of Practice Fusion, or the Castlight Health initial public offering hype and valuation assumptions compared to the market reality of today. Similar to EHRs, digital health now must prove it’s worth if it’s going to have sticking power. Find out more about getting beyond the digital hype.
Blockchain technology is also receiving a lot of hype and can be a new approach and solution for secure patient data storage and transmission. According to the IDC, by 2020, 20% of healthcare organizations will have moved beyond pilot projects and will be using blockchain. Some vendors are a applying it to EMR/EHR systems like the Medicalchain platform or MedRec system. Major players like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Google have even separate units dedicated to developing blockchain products, including for healthcare.
Furthermore, smart contracts, immutability, and a clear audit trail — hallmarks of blockchain technology — hold much promise for healthcare data and exchange. The problem is that technology, especially when it comes to data sharing and interoperability in healthcare, is not the dominant roadblock...politics is!