The Friday Five – Health IT Women Make Predictions for 2020
For our first Friday Five of 2020 we rounded up five ladies at the top of their game in health IT to hear what they had to say about what we can expect in 2020. From digital health and telemedicine to interoperability and healthcare payments, here is what they are predicting about the new year.
To date, digital health has given rise to technologies that have done more than disrupt the industry; they are transforming the way we deliver care. Patients’ phones are an integral part of their lives, and we are now at a point where this has to extend to access to care, communicating with providers, making payments, and coordinating care for our loved ones. Making phone calls and physically going to a clinic is no longer the most convenient. As we look at where healthcare will progress in 2020, a huge focus will center on how innovative digital health technologies – particularly asynchronous communications and other telehealth platforms – meet the needs and desires of today’s healthcare consumer.
Providers have seen the value that telehealth can offer in bringing efficiency and convenience to the healthcare experience, all while improving outcomes and enhancing the patient relationship. But for many, securing reimbursement has been the real hurdle to overcome. We’ve already seen a growing expansion of instances in which doctors can now bill for their telehealth services, and my prediction is that by the end of 2020, all 50 states will adopt asynchronous modality of telehealth to address the needs of the population, reduce the cost of care and improve access. Patients demand immediacy to their care, convenience to their lifestyle, and transparency with their healthcare providers. Telehealth communications platforms that meet the needs of the patient – where they are – are what will drive the healthcare we see in 2020.
Rosemarie Day, Founder & CEO of Day Health Strategies
I expect healthcare to dominate the 2020 political conversation as we head into the November election. The two key factors driving this are the continued threats to the Affordable Care Act and the inexorable rise in the cost of healthcare (which keeps getting passed on to consumers). These factors combine to create too many pain points for American voters to ignore.
2020 will be a year where increases in consumer responsibility continue to be a driving force in healthcare. InstaMed’s Trends in Healthcare Payments Ninth Annual Report revealed that 93 percent of patients were surprised by a medical bill, including 61 percent who received a bill for more than expected, and 50 percent who received an unexpected bill. We will continue to see payers and providers pressured to deliver a consumer healthcare payment experience that matches those found in today’s digital world.
This includes leveraging advanced payment technology to:
- Offer multiple payment options upfront such as online payments and automated payment plans
- Digitize the payment process to help staff streamline their workflows
- Enhance patient convenience through eStatements, email notifications and text notifications
As payers and providers seek to navigate the complexities of healthcare and movements to value based care which rewards organizations based on specific outcomes, there will be an increased need to bridge the information gap that exists within and between healthcare systems and simplify processes. These efforts have tremendous potential to reduce overhead and improve care coordination while aligning incentives. Healthcare organizations have spent a lot of time and money purchasing and implementing technologies. We are going to see a push to optimize the technology platforms and overlaying processes and prioritize data and document interoperability to increase revenue, quality and patient safety and decrease cost.
From healthcare-retail partnerships to the introduction of apps, wearables and data-driven AI applications, disruption and innovation are now central to healthcare. Telehealth and other digital tools are gaining in popularity, as patients continue to embrace digital interaction. Patient wait times and physician shortages are getting worse. Growth in virtual care adoption will continue its momentum in 2020 and become imperative to the survival of healthcare organizations (HCOs).
For the first time, providers will compete on cost as price transparency is enforced. Negotiated rates are set to be made public in 2020 thanks to an executive order. This sets the stage for a new era of competition among providers and new entrants alike. Integrated, optimized and interoperable systems that support the portability of patient information and care coordination across transitions of care will be necessary in the new world of price transparency and market value.
What will be top of mind in 2020? It’s fairly simple. For patients, it’ll definitely be healthcare costs – the premiums and the costs of care. As costs are rising and high deductible health plans become the norm, a patient’s main concern in many cases is how he/she can afford a procedure after the large percentage of their income is devoted to healthcare premiums. For providers, reimbursement will continue to be a main driver – ensuring billing is done accurately so as to maximize reimbursement. For payors, cost containment will be key – protecting premium dollars with critical claims review solutions that monitor for fraudulent, wasteful and abusive billing patterns.
In 2020, both providers and payors will put a greater emphasis on transparency in the billing process. Most providers want to bill accurately and understand how a payor would view a claim so as to know if it will be approved or denied. The process has been a complex one to date, but some great strides are being made on both fronts to ensure transparency between providers and payors to improve billing accuracy.