Healthcare consumers are demanding the same level of price transparency for medical care they have in other transactions—particularly as healthcare moves away from a fee-for-service model and patients are responsible for larger portions of their medical bills. Meanwhile, as of January 2021, federal regulation requires health systems to make their service charges publicly available. The healthcare industry, however, hasn’t historically succeeded with consumer-grade price transparency. Organizations must now figure out how to bridge the gap between their costs and patient charges. Doing so requires comprehensive understanding of all the costs behind a service and consumer-friendly explanation of how these expenses translate into prices.
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2021 Asia-Pacific Healthcare Trends: Growing Digitization, Universal Health Coverage, and More (White Paper)
Along with the rest of the globe, 2021 healthcare trends across Asia-Pacific (APAC) countries will center on COVID-19 recovery and resuming the healthcare improvement journey. In the APAC region, however, a mix of developed and developing countries poses unique challenges, as healthcare access and basic infrastructure vary widely between urban and rural populations and economic levels. To shepherd healthcare out of the pandemic and enhance delivery overall in 2021, APAC nations will focus on increasing investment in digital health (including virtual care, machine learning, and EMR adoption), achieving universal health coverage, shifting more towards value, and improving payer-provider relationships.
2021 Healthcare Trends: What Leaders Need to Know from COVID-19 to New Administration Policies (White Paper)
While much of the healthcare industry was eager to put 2020 behind it, the new year brings its own challenges, concerns, and promises. Trends in the three main categories of new Biden administration policy, care delivery, and healthcare technology will shape 2021, with key issues including the long-term effects of COVID-19, future emergency preparedness, and the outlook for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Healthcare leaders can prepare for this pivotal year by understanding critical areas to watch within these categories and how events, activities, and political appointments will affect the healthcare ecosystem.
The Healthcare Cybersecurity Framework: A Top Defense Against Data Breaches and Attacks (White Paper)
Between 2017 and 2020, more than 93 percent of healthcare organizations experienced a data breach. While digital technology and connectivity is increasingly critical in meeting operational and clinical challenges, such as COVID-19, more integration also enables increased exposure to cyberattacks that can impact care delivery, safety, and privacy.
In response to healthcare’s significant and growing cybersecurity threats, vendor organizations and their health system partners need a security framework. A defensible protocol holds vendors accountable to routine audits and compliance measures at a regular cadence, ensuring both parties keep cybersecurity programs active and optimized.
Healthcare organizations face unparalleled pressure to increase operating margins as they adapt to the revenue compression from COVID-19 and growing competition from insurers and digital disrupters. Yet, many health systems rely on outdated, revenue-centric cost accounting solutions that are ill equipped for strategic financial decision making. As a methodology for today’s complex healthcare environment, activity-based costing (ABC) can capture healthcare resource use at a granular level. With this service-level insight into clinical cost, ABC provides actionable intelligence to help organizations improve profitability and make strategic cost-reduction decisions. These comprehensive costing solutions give health systems a full understanding of cost across the care continuum—the only level of insight that will enable strategic cost transformation in the industry’s new normal.
While federal COVID-19 relief funding for health systems sounds good in theory, many organizations have found accessing and using these monies overwhelming and frustrating. Federal guidance has been inconsistent or incomplete, and continued changes to relief packages and policies challenge organizations to develop pragmatic financial recovery strategies. Financial leaders who are confronting more questions than answers need a simple framework to move confidently into recovery.
The following five expert financial- and healthcare-based guidelines will help organizations navigate and optimize COVID-19 relief funding:
- Regularly review legislative and regulatory updates and agency activity.
- Make the most of what’s available.
- Use required reporting as a decision-making tool.
- Prepare now for the inevitable audit.
- Test compliance now to eliminate headaches (or litigation) later.
In addition to driving COVID-19 understanding within the United States, a national disease registry is informing research beyond U.S. borders. Clinicians with the Singapore Ministry of Healthcare Office for Healthcare Transformation (MOHT) have used Health Catalyst Touchstone® COVID-19 data to develop a machine learning tool that helps predict the likelihood of COVID-19 mortality. With this national data set that leverages deep aggregated EHR data, the MOHT accessed the research-grade data it needed to build a machine-learning algorithm that predicts risk of death from COVID-19. The registry-informed prediction model was accurate enough to stand up to comparisons in the published literature and promises to help inform vaccine research and, ultimately, allocation of vaccines within populations.
Build Versus Buy a Healthcare Enterprise Data Warehouse: How IT Leaders Choose the Best Option for Their Organizations
The public cloud has made IT infrastructure increasingly accessible, influencing some healthcare CIOs and CTOs to try to build an enterprise data warehouse (EDW) in-house versus purchasing a commercial solution. However, a spring 2020 survey indicates that the vast majority of healthcare data platform users purchase their EDWs, citing superior quality, functionality, and security. Meanwhile, homegrown EDW users report high satisfaction with their systems despite common roadblocks including insufficient IT personnel. A deeper dive into survey findings shows which type of organization may be best suited to building or buying an EDW.
With an ever-changing understanding of COVID-19 and a continually fluctuating disease impact, health systems can’t rely on a single, rigid plan to guide their response and recovery efforts. An effective solution is likely a flexible framework that steers hospitals and other providers through four critical phases of a communitywide healthcare emergency:
- Prepare for an outbreak.
- Prevent transmission.
- Recover from an outbreak.
- Plan for the future.
The framework must include data-supported surveillance and containment strategies to enhance detection, reduce transmission, and manage capacity and supplies, providing a roadmap to respond to immediate demands and also support a sustainable long-term pandemic response.
With the CMS and ONC March 2020 endorsement of HL7 FHIR R4, FHIR is positioned to grow from a niche application programming interface (API) standard to a common API framework. With broader adoption, FHIR promises to support expanding healthcare interoperability and prepare the industry for complex use cases by addressing significant challenges:
- Engaging consumers.
- Sharing data with modern standards.
- Building a solid foundation for healthcare interoperability.