HIMSS State of the Healthcare for 2021 Report
Episode 13916th July 2021 • This Week Health: Newsroom • This Week Health
00:00:00 00:12:15


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  Today in Health it, this story is HIMSS State of Healthcare Report. My name is Bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week in Health IT a channel dedicated to keeping health IT staff current and and engaged. You're listening to this show, which shows that you have found a way to stay current on stories in the industry, but we also have something called clip notes for you and your team.

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tate of healthcare report for:

These are all important aspects. Of trying to figure out what these reports are actually giving us. The good and the bad news is that there are so many of these surveys out there these days that you can find something to support your anecdotal conclusion, but that isn't really what we're looking for from these surveys.

We're looking for validation of assumptions. Through qualitative and quantitative analysis, and I would guess that the, the purpose of this piece is marketing, marketing for the HIMSS event that is coming up next month. This report alone can probably lead to five or so stories, thousands of social media hits, and even a today in Health IT podcast covering some of the results.

So keep that in mind as we go through some of this. So, . Let's get to the report. What they did is, let's see, A phased approach was leveraged to develop the report. HIMSS conducted a series of 12 qualitative interviews with subject matter experts from across the healthcare ecosystem to identify the most pressing challenges faced today.

Three of the highest priority areas are digital health, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and financial health. We're then used by the trust partners as a starting point to design the quantitative approach. Okay, think about this. If you went to healthcare leaders today and asked them what are the top three most pressing, I'm sure financial health is always in the top three.

I. I wouldn't surprise me if digital health, if, if you put telehealth and remote patient monitoring and all the advancements in that category would probably be in the top three today, but AI and ML is not likely in the top three if it security and ransomware. Is something that sort of pops into my head.

Given what has gone on at Scripps and Sky Lakes Medical and St. Lawrence and other, uh, locations would probably be in the top three, maybe not across the board. And so as we look at this, just consider that they did pigeonhole this a little bit, did AI and ml. Are still early on, especially in the clinical setting or still early on in healthcare.

Again, as you're reading these things, I read these with a critical eye. I'm not being critical of the research that was done, or even the approach, or even the fact that they're using it for marketing. I'm not being critical of those things. Those are all valid reasons to put this kind of research together, but I'm saying read it with a critical eye.

Read all of these reports with a critical eye. Don't just say, oh, look. 80% of people love telehealth, which 80% of the people love telehealth. Which of that percentage is, is representative of the community that you're serving, where you're trying to roll out telehealth? Don't just throw out an 80% of people love telehealth at a a board meeting so that you can get your telehealth initiative supported Anyway.

d then from March to April of:

Health systems move rapidly to establish telehealth offerings early in the pandemic and are now shifting focus to other use cases to gain a competitive advantage in this digitally advanced post pandemic landscape. Most health systems offer digital programs with nearly one third having targeted high impact efforts.

That track key performance indicators and outcomes. However, 52% of providers have not progressed these initiatives beyond pilot stage. The greatest barrier to adoption are not technology and patient demand. Rather, 59% of respondents pointed to uncertainty over regulatory reimbursement issues and internal change management.

All right. Clearly you would hear that I think from physicians who are looking to get, uh, reimbursed for the work. You'd hear that from payers who are looking to get reimbursed from the work. I'm not sure. . Where else you would hear that? Because again, I think if I look at those top three issues, AI and ml, if I took that out, I would either put in their security and ransomware, or I'd put in their new entrance into the marketplace.

And if I'm in an administrative role looking at this saying I need to have digital tools to combat some of the new entrants that are coming into this marketplace to offer not only the the patients, but more specifically the employers in the area, a better solution for their employees. , and that's what I think the digital tools should be focused on.

That's what Transparent is focusing it on, and that is what Amazon Care is focused on. And I think you're gonna see more and more focused on that employer space. Clinicians adopted digital health tools at a faster pace. During the pandemic, though, more than 60% said the lack of interoperability between systems presents a hurdle.

Essentially what they're saying is, I'm using the digital tool on one hand and I go into the EHR and the information's not there, and or I have to . Jump screens and those kind of things, I think is what I hear when I read that. More than 90% said they have recommended digital health tools to patients, and 78% agreed that the pandemic resulted in helpful changes like the adoption of virtual care, telehealth, and other tools.

I. Which would match anecdotally what we are hearing payers shared that the future of digital health will greatly rely on government regulations and payment reform, as we just talked about, more than 60% pointed to interoperability and telehealth platforms as a driver to enhance adoption. Though 40% cited privacy and security concerns as a top barrier, patients were often split on generational lines.

We hear this a lot. 71% of the younger generations. Saying one reason they prefer telehealth is convenience. Makes perfect sense with 44% saying they may switch providers if telehealth options aren't offered going forward. I. All right, so that's what they're saying in the digital health space. I'm gonna skip the AI and ML because I disagree with their conclusion that it is this high.

In fact, essentially what I would say is it's nascent in the clinical space. We have a few spotlighted areas where it is happening. The data's still not clean enough. We're still working on bias and other things, so . Actually doing diagnosis and delivering care based on AI and ML is still really on the edge.

We are figuring it out as we go now, if you're using it in the administrative areas, in security, in it, in AP, and ar by all means, makes perfect sense to me and I think we are seeing that with some of the automation tools that are coming forward. Let's talk about financial health and what they found.

Here. So perceptions of financial health, particularly in the current state of the pandemic, depend largely on the segment specific role within the healthcare hierarchy and how they view the impact of an aging population. Understanding critical challenges to the bottom line and the often disparate views of alternate segments within the industry can help leaders pinpoint opportunities.

For greater efficiencies of care. Alright, so what are they saying? Health systems are prioritizing cost efficiencies and partnerships to help improve their financial position. It's interesting to note and we do a podcast today, our this week in Health IT podcast today is with Rob DeShay, former CFO for UPMC, and we talk about this a fair amount.

The pandemic was experienced unevenly across the industry. So when you talk about healthcare and health systems, you have to split it down large IDNs, academic medical centers, for the most part, did not really experience this the same way any of the smaller systems did. They had a lot of cash reserves.

They had a lot of leverage to pull. They had access to bond markets, so they were able to really ride through this with a fair amount of cash. Whereas the smaller health systems have to make very critical decisions, and some are in a really precarious situation at this point. Unless the academic medical center or IDN was in the middle of a series of acquisitions or transactions, they'd extended their, their credit to make moves and weren't really prepared for the pandemic.

Because of that, they may have experienced some, some setbacks, but for the most part, most of the large IDNs in academic medical centers. It was a blip for them. Now it was a significant blip, but it was a blip nonetheless. Clinicians report the pandemic's financial impact as manageable. 70% describe their current financial position as stable with only 12% saying they're somewhat or highly financially unstable.

I. That's an interesting statistic. I would want to delve into that more. I'd probably look for some other statistics or try to find out what their questions are that they asked to get to that conclusion. Patients overwhelmingly, 79% believe healthcare costs in the US are too expensive. By the way, I don't think that's too patients.

I think if you talk to payers, they would say it's too expensive. I think if you talk to health system leaders, . They would say it's too expensive. I think if you talk to clinicians, they would say, it's too expensive. There's a sentiment that healthcare costs are too high. That is universal across the board.

So those are the three main areas, and some of the conclusions from this report, go ahead and grab it. It's a real easy read. It's worth looking at. As I said, again, I, I read this with the critical eye I, and not being critical of the people who've put it together. Not being critical of the report itself.

Just I read all of these reports with a critical eye. I do not wanna make conclusions based on information that is not sound. That's all for today. If you know of someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com, or wherever you listen to.

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