Tough to believe that another HIMSS is nearly upon us. Yet several weeks away, we find ourselves already fully booked up with vendor briefings, press requests, media interviews, and the like.
While the excitement and energy of the annual HIMSS show are undeniable, those who have been to the show before can attest to the confusion, noise, and of course the smoke and mirrors that are part and parcel of any huge industry confab. And as if the regular hype didn’t make our job of discerning the signal from the noise tough enough, my particular domain of coverage here at Chilmark – patient and consumer engagement – is at an incredibly unique juncture right now.
Our recent market trends report, focused on the provider and clinical market for digital engagement tools, uncovered an immature marketplace that has been largely reactive to the flood of new technologies, and altogether uninvolved in the broader swell of consumerism in the healthcare industry. This is unfortunate but not surprising – it is a very busy time to be in the business of care delivery (or healthcare in general) in the US. Assuringly, it does seem that for many HCOs out there, engagement is a logical ‘next step’ after this present round of infrastructural investments have been made – and recouped. So, we anticipate the next 18 months or so will be a busy time in the engagement space, particularly now with new #MU3 rules have been proposed by CMS and ONC.
So where does that leave us going into HIMSS15? Below are a handful of ideas that are not too farfetched as far as we’re concerned, but which have been evading the industry for the last few years. We’ll be looking for some of these concepts in Chicago this spring (and indefinitely throughout the year) as we plow through the Super Health Information Technology PR show:
- Unified Experience, Where Art Thou? I have a portal for my state insurance connector, a portal for my insurance company, a portal for my doctor. I also have three “artifact portals” – one for my last doctor and one each for my previous two health plans. Due to corrupt file production and complete apathy from my current health plan and health system, I’m unable to dump those old data into another place, like a Healthvault account. I receive three paper mailings a month in addition to untold white paper envelopes and automated voicemails whenever I actually see a doctor. As Tom Main recently illustrated, it is simply a nightmare out there today for the consumer. I’ll be on the lookout for vendors (and individuals) who have lifted their heads out of the sand and are actively fixing the mess they’ve created.
- Engagement Outcomes: Time to Move from “Tell” to “Show” Vendors: We are looking for some hard data you can share about reductions in LOS, shrinkage in admits or readmits, upticks in satisfaction scores, anything. How many companies out there are still pushing portals who can’t hang their hat on numbers of recurring patient logins? Heck – let’s even just hear about how many customers you have and what you’ve learned from them. Too rarely do we see compelling, or even anecdotal proof of tangible impact. One example others might follow is what Twine has done to show a real impact of their offering. We hope others will follow suit in a similar vein.
- Leveraging Patient Data for Advanced Risk Profiles: Given all of the technology that is flooding the market to collect data on us as individuals, it is surprising so few folks have come out and announced newer, more sophisticated risk profiling tools. It’s time to move from unfettered excitement about wearables towards systemic approaches to turn biometric data, smoking status, steps, demographic data, and lots more into more actionable “pre-engagement” fodder. Or perhaps, some tools to leverage unused EHR data to this end – we liked what we heard from Healthline last fall. Too often, engagement is cast as a one-way arrow in the broader PHM marketing blitz. Who’s out there flipping that notion on its head?
- Payers – What are you doing for the individual member? There is a lot of talk now about the industry’s shift from B2B to B2C. To date this has been more marketing than anything else. A great way to discover a health plan’s most glaring weaknesses on the consumer engagement front is to look at what they offer the individually-insured member. Most progress on the benefits management front is being made today is by progressive vendors like Healthsparq or Welltok; the individual market remains a wasteland of broken tools, out-of-date provider lists, and a lack of resources to navigate the system or manage spending/benefits. These folks are spending more on their benefits plans, directly out of pocket, and don’t have an employer program to help them out – not a bad place for a health plan to start engaging.
You Tell Us: What are you looking forward to (or not looking forward to!) in the patient and consumer engagement space this year?
- Enabling technology for retail health?
- Models to enable telehealth visits within a “consumer workflow?”
- More “complete” longitudinal patient health records (How do we even measure progress here anymore?)
- The latest wave of “smart” (read: Apple-compatible) monitoring/measuring use cases?
- Share your thoughts below!