Keeping up with (and Getting Ahead of) an Ever-Changing Healthcare Model

At this year’s annual HIMSS conference, a common topic of discussion was around how to continue to bring the technological and medical aspects of healthcare together to evolve, grow and support one another.

Each semester, I share with my Health IT students the many reasons that it is such an exciting time to be in healthcare. As we transition from a volume-based to a value-based incentive model, healthcare is going to look significantly different by 2020. This transformation is no longer a wish, it is no longer an option; it is our collective future. People who were previously one-foot-in and one-foot-out will be fully planted in the value-based healthcare model.

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Why 2015 is the Worst Time to be a Physician

With the ONC’s recent release of their 10-year interoperability vision, it might seem like the industry is starting to make things easier for clinicians. In reality, 2015 is starting off to be one of the worst times ever to be a physician. Interoperability is a critical issue to support a transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Physicians will eventually be reimbursed around their ability to impact clinical outcomes, so the need for clinically relevant information at their fingertips is mission critical.

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Cerner/Siemens and Blue Shield/Blue Cross: What Happens Next?


The industry is buzzing over the news that Cerner is buying the health information technology business unit of Siemens. The Siemens acquisition is the most recent high-profile example of consolidation that is taking place in all sectors of healthcare.

The consolidation trend is not new, of course. Providers reacted first, by aligning as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and clinical integration (CI) networks during the past five years. Then the passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) accelerated the need for collaboration, forcing providers to acquire additional acute care and post-acute care facilities as well as physicians’ offices. This consolidation trend was the first to expose the obvious lack of interoperability amongst vendors.

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Healthcare on the Potomac

100913_capitol_hill_ap_328I’ve recently had the opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital a couple of times through our relationships with trade associations (The App Association [ACT], an international software advocacy and educational organization) and partners such as athenahealth. These are always whirlwind days, packed with meetings with Congressional staffers, members of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and regulators from the FDA, FCC and others.

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When to Go ACO

CaduceusShadowI’ve traveled around and seen market after market and spoken with a range of health system leaders who are committed to participating in an accountable care organization (ACO) because they believe they have to. When looking at the facts – the structure of those markets, the health system’s share, the payer dynamics, and the overall economics – the runway to value-based models is often longer than they realize. As many systems that performed well in the past year as the result of aggressive cost containment will tell you, there is still a place for maximizing margin with traditional approaches. And this is important not because it will last forever, but because systems will need to fund the transition to the inevitable. Continue reading

Are We There Yet?…Almost

Road_14The interoperability challenge has plagued hospitals and health systems for longer than any of us care to admit. The topic still elicits eye-rolls and cringes from everyone from health care reporters to CIOs – and who can blame them? The industry has largely over-promised and under-delivered when it comes to vendors “playing nice in the sandbox,” integrating systems and making data across the continuum available in a simple and cost-effective way. Continue reading