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Big Data Clarified, Providers, HIT & Obesity and ACA’s Impact on HIE Market

by John Moore | January 10, 2013

With the ramp up to healthcare reform, Chilmark Research sees signs of a potential slow down in HIE innovation. This is but one research note of three that were provided as part of our latest monthly update for Chilmark Advisory Service subscribers in the December Monthly Update. Below are abstracts of the three topics covered in this issue.

Provider Risk Will Drive Vendor Caution on HIEs
As the Accountable Care Act goes into effect, financial concerns and a host of unanswered questions will play a decisive role in how HIEs are developed and implemented. HIE innovation could slow in the coming year based on what providers are willing and able to pay for. Although Stage 2 meaningful use requires that providers include a summary of patient care records with any referral to an outside setting, most providers will take Direct as the path of least resistance to this end. Meanwhile, questions such as which entities within large IDNs will have final decision-making power on spending, and whether HIEs should have any role in sharing claims data, remain unresolved.

Big Data for the Rest of Us
Big data has become a hot buzz word in health IT, mainly because it remains largely undefined and can be molded to fit individual needs and circumstances. In the absence of a clear definition, big data has been used to disparage existing database technologies, especially SQL. Nonetheless, leveraging existing end-user tools is the clearest path to gaining broad appeal for a new technology, and the existing tools in analytics rely on SQL. This update looks at the efforts of vendors like Teradata, Oracle, and IBM to develop big data solutions, and what that could mean for HIT.

New HIT Markets for Tackling Obesity 
Payers have taken the lead in using health IT to turn the tide on rising health costs related to obesity and overweight. Innovative health insurers are using social media, mobile apps, and gamification to engage members and promote healthy behaviors. So far at least, providers have not joined payers on the new frontier of technology-based weight loss programs. Considering who currently bears the cost of weight-related health issues, this is not terribly surprising. Fee for service remains a disincentive to providers taking an ongoing role in patient behavior change, but healthcare reform could change that. One ACO quality measure, for instance, requires physicians to follow up with patients who have abnormal BMI. This update takes a look at the problem of obesity, where things stand with consumer engagement technologies, and how those technologies might develop.

Each month, subscribers to the Chilmark Advisory Services (CAS) receive an update of our research on the most transformative trends in the healthcare IT sector. Exclusive to CAS subscribers, monthly updates are part of the continuous feed of information and analysis we generate to keep subscribers on top of the rapid-fire changes in this market.

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“As biometric data becomes cheaper and easier to collect through smart sensors, devices, and mobile apps, expect to see more innovations in consumer health.”

-Alicia Vergaras