We recently caught up with John Moore of Chilmark Research, one of the most sought-after HIT industry analysts and a frequent speaker at major industry gatherings such as Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Health 2.0. Chilmark Research is the only industry analyst firm focusing solely on the Healthcare IT market. Given its laser focus on our industry, it was great to hear what John believes 2012 will hold.
What do you predict as the biggest developments in Health IT for 2012?
The biggest HIT development in 2012 will be the mobile enablement of patient data - specifically, mobile solutions aiding physicians and clinicians. Mobile will play a big role in electronic health record (EHR) solutions. In my role as an industry analyst at Chilmark Research, I have been on the receiving end of a number of demos from the main EHR vendors in the past three to six months. I am convinced that mobile EHR enablement will be about better access to patient data via screen tablets such as the iPad.
On the flip side, I predict that the significant pressure coming from all healthcare stakeholders toward easing the various IT mandates likely will delay the much-anticipated transition from ICD 9 to ICD 10. Expect to see a more lax approach to the proposed mandates during an election year.
What are the top three HIT-related changes that physicians should prepare for in 2012?
There is no doubt that physicians will need to think about and address increased patient engagement. If providers are not already thinking about it, they need to start putting strategies in place to address how they will be engaging their patients more aggressively in 2012, especially those patients with chronic disease conditions. The industry's move toward value-based outcomes and value-based contracts will have a strong influence over this push. As physicians start to move from fee-for-service to value-based models, they will need to get their patients more engaged in the care management process.
This likely will start to have a much more pronounced effect on reimbursements in 2012, too. A number of health plans, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), are going to adopt a value-based reimbursement model, although I do not anticipate major changes from CMS until 2014 when the hammer drops. The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' Alternative Quality Contract (AQC) will be a viable alternative to the prevalent fee-for-service payment model. It is a proven value-based alternative that has seen increased adoption by physician groups in the state since 2009. AQC likely will serve as the example that more health plans across the country will follow in 2012.
What developments do you see in coordinated care in 2012?
I see Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) as the key enablers, although we are still moving very slowly on the coordinated care front. HIEs likely will see higher adoption in 2012 as they will serve as the fundamental infrastructure that will enable the seamless sharing of patient information among provider groups. With these tools in place, providers will finally be able to share patient data outside of their traditional silos.
What will be the role of health plans in setting technology solution standards for care coordination?
We will see more health plans getting directly involved in care coordination models and delivery. Health plans can often have a better and more complete picture of a patient's medical history than their provider(s), based on patient information coming from claims and labs data sources. I predict health plans will increasingly leverage their available data such as claims, labs, and Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) data, and will share patient information with the respective coordinated care teams.
How will patient engagement evolve in 2012, and what technologies will support it?
Patient engagement is still nominal, as we pointed out in some of the original research we conducted at Chilmark Research. I anticipate that patient portals, which have already gotten traction, will see more adoption next year as more providers examine strategies for meeting stage 2 meaningful use requirements.
Favorite HIT anecdote from 2011?
It is hard to pick one success story out of the many great accomplishments we saw in healthcare in 2011. One example that comes to mind often when I think about the potential of HIT is related to Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, which has a medical imaging exchange in the cloud. This imaging exchange was instrumental in saving the life of a 24-year-old woman who was involved in a serious accident this year. Images were taken at the local hospital where the accident occurred prior to transport to a major trauma center. While she was in route via helicopter to the trauma center, her images were securely sent via the Internet, and Memorial Hermann was able to assemble the appropriate care team, ensuring this patient received the best, most appropriate care for her injuries in the "Golden Hour" after the accident. I believe HIT is the enabler to help our industry move toward better health outcomes such as this example and will having a meaningful impact on millions of lives.
What healthcare topics will Chilmark Research focus on in 2012?
Expect to see Chilmark Research focus on HIE, mobile health, and patient engagement in 2012. You can also access this year's Chilmark report on Health Information Exchange (HIE) Market Report: Analysis & Trends.
Thank you, John, as always, for your great insights and for taking the time to share them with the NaviNet community. We look forward to seeing you at HIMSS in 2012. Have anything to add to John's predictions? Continue the discussion by commenting on our blog, and connecting with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Senior Director, Corporate Marketing