State of the Industry 2009: Technology

October 1, 2008

MHE's State of the Industry Survey findings show that 44.6% of those surveyed did not envision using or implementing any advanced technological innovations, such as online physician visits.

MHE's State Of The Industry Survey findings show that 44.6% of those surveyed did not envision using or implementing any of the technological innovations listed. This could mean that there is no clear direction on where healthcare organizations want to focus their resources, say industry experts.

"The disparity between tools that manage risk and those that manage access demonstrates an indecisive market," says Jerry Osband, MD, chief medical officer at TriZetto. "Healthcare buyers are unclear on which solutions will bring them the strongest return for both the near and long term. All [of the innovations listed] are progressive technologies, but no one approach is perceived as showing a clear benefit, despite existing capabilities."

INTERACTIVE AND ONLINE

Risk management and access are top-of-mind with respondents-indicated by the almost 41% of them who said they will use interactive chronic care management and appointment scheduling online.

"It is critical for healthcare executives to manage both access and risk to be successful," Dr. Osband says. "Interactive chronic care management tools enable the management of clinical identification and risk management, while online appointment scheduling enables the management of member access. These two options are the logical top choices, given the priorities of managed care executives."

ROUTINE INTERACTION

Keckley says that the MHE data points to routine interaction with patients and pharmacies-"appropriately setting the stage for technology-enabled self-care via in-home monitoring devices and personal health records.

"These technologies exist already, but their use has been limited due to payment by plans as the rationale for non-use," Keckley continues. "Ironically, patients including seniors, enthusiastically support their use and prefer physicians who use technology appropriately."

That said, member education about the clinical and financial improvements achieved through technology-enabled care management must be a top priority for plans.

"Consumers want improved accuracy in their diagnostics and treatment plans that reduce the incidence of bad outcomes," Keckley says. "These are achieved best using technology."