Monday, July 25, 2011

7 Trends in Healthcare

While attending UnitedHealthcare's Customer Forum, I made note of some trends that were discussed. Here are seven that I think will have significant impact in the near future. 
Targeted Analytics = Targeted Solutions
  1. Shift toward bundled payment structures like Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and integrated delivery systems. Payment structures that focus on value. Value being a combination of quality and affordability.  
  2. Focus on primary care and care coordination. UHC is introducing a plan based on a gatekeeper model in FL. They said they've had requests from customers for it. (Yep, everything old is new again.) I'm still worried about shortages of primary care physicians. Maybe the focus on care coordination will help this issue bubble to the surface nationwide. 
  3. Integrating data to perform predictive modeling -- Targeted Analytics = Targeted Solutions. (I wish this extended to the data customers maintain with wellness providers and other partners, but I think UHC is overwhelmed with integrating all of their own data right now.)
  4. Reaching out to people identified through predictive modeling to minimize avoidable costs by putting personally appropriate interventions in place. UHC focuses on this with their nurseline
  5. Steering insureds to preferred providers and centers of excellence for complex medical conditions. Definitely a win-win proposition. 
  6. Reverse innovation -- This is the term used in the Harvard Business Review article, How GE is Disrupting Itself. It refers to developing products for emerging markets and then distributing them globally. (The opposite of how things have traditionally been done -- developing products for their home market and then adapting them for other markets around the world.) Two product examples, a $1,000 handheld electrocardiogram device and a portable, PC-based ultrasound machine that sells for $15,000. A conventional ultrasound machine was selling for $100,000 and up. These new products have the potential to replace much more expensive technology that is being used in the US. And, it could make tests that are now performed in radiology centers available in doctor's offices. 
  7. Making information accessible through mobile devices. Asusannah fox at Pew’s Internet & American Life Project said, “Information has become portable, personalized and participatory. Once someone has a mobile device, they’re more likely to use the internet to gather information, share what they find and create new content.” UHC had DocGPS to locate network providers when we started working with them. In March, they introduced It allows you to see specific information about your plan; view, fax and email an image of your card; and check recent claims. Then, in April, they introduced OptumizeMe which has a social, gaming focus. Mobile health was the topic of this #co_health tweet chat I participated in recently and a good source of additional information. 

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