Happy National Health IT Week! Initiated in 2006 by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), National Health IT Week has emerged as a landmark occasion for using health information technology as part of the overall solution to improve America’s healthcare as a bipartisan, federally led, market-driven initiative.
Health IT improves the quality of healthcare delivery, increases patient safety, decreases medical errors, and strengthens the interaction between patients and healthcare providers. It’s the foundation for comprehensive health reform in the U.S. So, it’s a pretty big deal!
Talix’s mission is to create a healthier world through the power of information. We strive every day to create solutions that harness the power of data to tackle healthcare risk adjustment’s biggest challenges and drive real outcomes for healthcare organizations, and their patients, across the country.
This year’s theme for NHIT Week is The Value of Health IT. So, we asked a cross section of Talixers – our CEO, Dean Stephens; Nik Patel, senior product manager; and Bijal Shah, MD, senior manager of Medical Informatics – what they think about the current challenges facing the healthcare industry and what tech innovations and/or initiatives are on the horizon that can help improve the health of Americans as the country continues its shift toward value-based care. Here’s what they had to say:
Dean Stephens, CEO
It’s “crossing the chasm” time for the entire healthcare industry. With a projected 160 million Americans on a risk-based contract by 2020, this switch from fee-for-service to value-based care will demand significant changes in how patient care will be delivered. Old patient referral patterns will change from below average to better than average doctors and hospitals. Unnecessary diagnostics and treatments will drop dramatically, closing hospitals. Information technology vendors will be forced to be much more collaborative to produce useful patient data and analytics. The winners will be patients and smart providers who embrace this change and invest in the techniques and tools to conquer value-based care.
Innovation will be linked to what’s needed for executing value-based care. In the past “sick care” world, tracking and analyzing patient information wasn’t necessary. In this emerging “smart care” world, the power of patient information grows substantially. 80 percent of patient information is unstructured text in the patient record and other sources of patient-related information, so health tech innovation must accelerate the capture and analysis of unstructured patient information. There is gold in these mountains of patient information, and capital will flow to those who innovate in natural language understanding and complex healthcare data analytics. People also mention cognitive computing and machine learning innovations, and, while the rudimentary means is here today, this world of artificial intelligence still has a long way to go in healthcare.
Nikhil Patel, Senior Product Manager
The biggest challenge I see in healthcare is getting everyone on board for a single-payer market. This is required for future generations to stay healthy longer and leads to essentially a less burdened healthcare system in the long term. The belief that healthcare should be private is proving to be incorrect for the U.S. population. A single-payer system that allows both private and public healthcare for all patients can be integrated. We have such systems working perfectly in Canada and Europe. I can see it happening here in the U.S. – but convincing skeptics is a big challenge.
In the next five years, I think Liquid Biopsy/Genome Sequencing will emerge as a valuable player in health IT. It’s a mix of healthcare and genetic sequencing that can change the way to diagnose and treat patients. If we can sequence the genome at a cost-effective rate and have the clinical information passed on to the clinician/provider/doctor to help in the diagnosis, and even in some cases detect early onset of diseases/syndromes so we can treat them earlier, it would be a game changer.
I might be slightly biased, but I think the work we are doing at Talix is truly inspiring. I can see our HealthData Engineplatform going to the next level and integrating with other services that the healthcare system will find productive and insightful. Our Coding InSight product is unique in that it can help payers or providers. This flexibility is reflected in the wide variety of partners who are currently using our product.
Bijal Shah, MD, Senior Manager of Medical Informatics
The healthcare sector is facing variety of challenges, but there are three that immediately come to mind. First is meaningful use of data. Lots of data is available out there, but the big challenge is analyzing it and streamlining it so that healthcare organizations, clinicians and others can use it in a way that leads to better health and patient outcomes. Second, we have to find ways to contain the increasing healthcare costs and I’m optimistic that value-based care will help. Third, of course, is confronting the breaches in data/PHI/security issues.
I believe that tech companies or products that can seamlessly integrate with various different EMR/EHRs to improve care quality and coordination and help ensure accuracy in provider reimbursements will have a huge market share and will be able to drive change.