The healthcare industry saw some big changes in 2015 – the rise of value-based care, the release of Meaningful Use final rules, and of course, the monumental switch to ICD-10. As 2015 comes to a close, let’s take a look forward to 2016 and what new changes it will bring.
We always like to make some predictions on the year to come. Here are the top six health IT trends we think will take center stage in 2016:
Big Player Moves—In 2016, we will see an increased number of tech companies enter the healthcare market. At least one of the big tech giants will make a multi-million dollar acquisition in the healthcare space. Fitbit will be one of those health companies they’ll be looking at.
Unfavorable Outlook for ACOs—By next year, there will no longer be uncertainty around the ACO model. We will know as an industry that this model is not working financially. Existing ACOs will realize they are not seeing savings from the current model, payments will fall flat, and 50 percent of these entities will lose money as they take on increased risk. As a result, less than a dozen ACOs will actually move into the Next Generation ACO program. Furthermore, we will see higher participation than ever in Medicare Advantage programs as many of these organizations withdraw from Medicare’s ACO program and turn to Medicare Advantage as a better alternative.
The Proliferating EMR Gap—EMR giants will continue to gobble up additional market share, further widening the gap between them and the other EMR players. However, with this year’s explosion of health data into the cloud, cloud-based EMRs will see increased momentum compared to past years.
Payer Consolidation—There was a lot of consolidation taking place among health plans in 2015. Now that all of the bigger health plans (except for the Blues) have consolidated, they will start pursuing hospitals to build integrated delivery networks. There will be an acceleration of the “Kaiser-ization” of the industry. As the industry continues to figure out the efficiency gains, the risk piece of the ACA will no doubt play a key role.
IT System Makeover—Payer organizations will accelerate the replacement of legacy systems with contemporary, NLP-based cloud applications to better manage and derive insights from the massive influx of both structured and unstructured patient data from a growing number of sources, including biometric devices and retail clinics.
Big Gains for Alternative Care—Increasingly, hospitals will shut down in 2016 due to constrained budgets. We’ll begin to see corner clinics replacing some physician practices. Additionally, retail clinics and telemedicine will gain popularity as consumers seek new, more convenient ways of getting routine medical care.
Surely, 2016 will be another exciting year for healthcare. We look forward to embracing some of the new changes it will bring, while helping providers and payers tackle new, emerging challenges around risk-based reimbursements.
We wish you all a healthy and happy 2016!