Timothy C. Peck, co-founder and CEO of care provider Call9 discusses what we can expect in healthcare during 2019.
This year, there is new opportunity for the healthcare industry to embrace value-based solutions – improving patient outcomes while decreasing cost. While innovative technology has already caused significant shifts in the space, promising developments and private partnerships point to further changes in 2019. Here are four trends that will impact the healthtech landscape in the new year.
Provider decisions will rely more on hard data
The growing implementation of technology developed for healthcare is creating new opportunities to use clinical data in more sophisticated ways. For a long time, the healthcare industry has expected—and hoped—that data would revolutionise how clinicians make decisions and deliver care. While it hasn’t quite started a revolution, 2019 is the year when data will finally begin to produce transformative change that improves the quality of care.
For example at Call9, we’ve developed SNF Assist, a first-of-its-kind patient care data platform based on our learnings from delivering tech-enabled services in nursing homes. Leveraging technology in this way provides nursing home administrators and operators with analytics that help to inform operational and medical decisions. Access to expanded data also allows them to gain a better understanding of their patient population while simultaneously equipping them with greater visibility into facility operations in order to deliver better care, reduce emergency department transports and costs, and ultimately drive further revenue to the facility.
Payors will see the value in technology innovation more than ever before
More than ever, payors face competitive and creative pressures to embrace new care solutions. Insurance technology companies like Bright Health, Devoted and Oscar have attracted significant capital from the venture and private equity world—$2 billion in 2018, according to Techcrunch—because they’re offering a better user experience while also collecting and utilising data in ways that will drive better outcomes at lower costs.
In an industry long-known for a serious dearth of innovation, the record year of investment for the sector points to a shift in this trend. The insurance tech space will continue to grow, forcing industry incumbents to follow the lead of startups in embracing innovative solutions and operating in a more nimble manner.
Tech-related service will excel
The pace of innovation has traditionally been set by providers, who have more flexibility than payors in creating systemic change. However, this trend is shifting, as evidenced by the attention tech-enabled medical services have received as result of recent acquisitions and other deals reportedly in the works.
In June, Anthem completed an acquisition of Aspire Health, the nation’s largest provider of non-hospice, community-based palliative care for people facing a serious illness. A week after that deal was finalised, Amazon paid nearly $1 billion for PillPack, the online pharmacy startup. Landmark Health, a risk-based provider group that provides home-based medical care for patients with complex health needs, was rumoured to be for sale early last year.
Tech-enabled services will continue to pave the way in 2019, pushing payors and other traditional services toward embracing—and funding—innovation. Aspire’s predictive clinical and claims-based patient algorithms are a perfect example of how tech services allow providers to take greater risks at lower cost. Similarly, the PillPack acquisition will create new opportunities for Amazon to transform the pharmacy industry.
Healthcare providers will partner with private companies more in 2019
Social determinants of health often prevent certain populations from accessing care in a timely and cost effective manner. Take transportation, for example: millions of Americans miss or delay medical appointments because they don’t have a ride. However, the shift to value-based care, coupled with a willingness of companies across industries to integrate technologies into each others’ platforms, is creating new and interesting collaborations to address some of these disparities.
The rideshare company Lyft has collaborated with a number of different healthcare organisations to provide access to medical transportation. In March, AllScripts established a seamless integration between its electronic health record and the Lyft Concierge API, enabling providers to order rides for patients directly in the EHR. In November, Call9 partnered with Lyft to provide transportation for family members visiting patients living in the nursing homes where Call9 operates. The partnership was a unique opportunity to strengthen communication with family members and offer them reliable access to their loved ones in an emergency situation.
More companies will seek out similar partnerships that both strengthen the patient/provider relationship and create value while improving the customer experience.