With the ongoing transition to value-based care, the importance of technology is growing, for patient engagement increase, data management for informed decision-making and introduction of more effective treatments. However, the advancement of all these is complicated by limited resources and lack of reimbursement. Such are the conclusions of the third annual Top of Mind for Top Health Systems survey from the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) conducted in partnership with KLAS Research.

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The survey took place from May through August 2019. 70 leaders (chief information officers, executives and directors) at 65 health systems across the USA shared their views on three focus areas: patient engagement, data aggregation and analytics, and precision medicine.

Patient Engagement

There is a growing tendency for patients to expect a digital experience in healthcare on a level similar to those offered in more technologically advanced industries. Specifically, patient portals, which are commonly an extension of the electronic health record, are the dominant technology for engaging with patients (this said by 82% of respondents).

However, the adoption levels are still low. On average, only 35% of patients have adopted the available technologies. Furthermore, 46% of executives consider patients to be the biggest obstacle on the path to increased adoption of patient engagement technologies.

Lack of reimbursement is another major challenge. For example, in telemedicine, which together with patient portals is one of the dominant technologies for patient engagement, payer buy-in is insufficient, the respondents said.

Still, investment in patient engagement technologies is growing, with priority being given to telemedicine (80%), patient portals (70%) and remote patient monitoring (57%).

Data Aggregation and Analytics

According to the report, the ability to manage multiple sources of data is a top priority for health systems on their way to value-based care, improved efficiency and reduced expenses.

So far, on average 71% of data from clinical sources are integrated, the report indicates, with the average share for all patient data (eg claims and other non-clinical data) integrated being 61%.

Here, however, limited funding and resources are again named as a major impediment to complete data aggregation: this opinion was expressed by 44% of respondents. Similar share also mentioned technical barriers, such as poor data normalisation (44%) and lack of data standards (40%). Intentional data blocking is often named as a hurdle by small healthcare organisations, with IT vendors being held responsible for lack of standards and interoperability, according to about a half of survey respondents.

Precision Medicine

Despite precision medicine attracting increased interest from health systems, issues such as high entry barriers, uncertain finding models, reimbursement and return on investment are regarded as prohibitive by the respondents.

Due to difficulties associated with the market entry, only 12% of those interviewed – mostly larger organisations – have adopted the precision medicine technology (particularly, in oncology) on what can be called a mature level. In the meantime, for nearly 70%, deployment of precision medicine is still very low or non-existent.

The fee-for-service or out-of-pocket payment models are the most common sources of funding for precision medicine. Getting payers to reimburse and earning a return on investment, on the other hand, are still a challenge. Nevertheless, a major shift is expected: 73% of respondents believe that in two years’ time value-based payments will be the primary payment model for such cases.

Full report can be downloaded here.

Source: Center for Connected Medicine

Image credit: iStock

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Research, precision medicine, patient engagement, Data analytics, Value-Based Care, KLAS Research, Center for Connected Medicine Top of Mind 2020: Patient engagement, data analytics and precision medicine