Top two concerns for healthcare executives in 2018

November 12, 2017

A survey unveiled at the HealthCare Executive Group’s Annual Forum divulges surprising findings about healthcare technology and innovation.

Using technology and innovation continues to be a top challenge for healthcare executives, according to a new survey.  

Leveraging clinical and data analytics is the top challenge for healthcare executives going into 2018, according to the survey of healthcare leaders. The findings were revealed in October at the HealthCare Executive Group’s (HCEG) 29th Annual Forum in Nashville.

Second on the list of challenges is population health services, including chronic care management, clinical integration and integrating social determinants of health.

“As discussed at our forum, technology and innovation are impacting almost every aspect of healthcare. As an industry, we need these discussions among the best and the brightest thought leaders to not just survive, but to thrive. Our members believe these 10 issues and trends will have lasting impacts in the way we all become engaged, digital consumers and responsible, successful, solution-oriented healthcare stakeholders,” says Ferris W. Taylor, HCEG office of the cChair and past chief operations officer of Arches Health Plan.

Data overload

Clinical data is difficult to manage in healthcare because there is so much of it, and the intended usage is still elusive to practitioners, says Constance Sjoquist, chief content officer at HLTH, who spoke at the HCEG Annual Forum.

“There’s data from wearables, physician offices, phone conversations with patients and providers, third-party applications, employer wellness solutions, and labs. There are so many points of data, it’s hard to make sense of it, organize it, and take action on it,” Sjoquist says.

Different silos in the healthcare system have different goals for data, and that makes it challenging to create goals and outcomes that are beneficial, she says.

“Few healthcare companies are in a position to orchestrate data into something meaningful for patients or physicians,” Sjoquist says. “There’s still a lot of protection around data, because different parts of the healthcare system own different data. There is a lack of transparency between the groups that own data.”

Another problem with healthcare data is that clinical and claims information is often dated or inaccurate by the time analysts can begin interpreting it.

“Healthcare data lags weeks or months, and that causes a lot of challenges,” Sjoquist says. “Physicians are struggling with all of this new information with no precise way to act upon it.”

Next: Other top challenges

 

 

Population health challenges

When it comes to population health, Sjoquist says that although organizations have used gamifications and other incentives to engage groups of people, making real impact of patient behavior continues to be a challenge.

“Population health asks how do we improve healthcare at large. But what do we need to do to make that happen? Do we know enough about a group of people to lower their healthcare costs, or to fix or avoid a health problem? And suppose we know all of the other things, how do we get patients to do anything?” Sjoquist asks. “The last part is the hardest.”

Sjoquist says that the conversation around population health needs to change to discover how to help patients live their best lives.

“As healthcare leaders, we need to redefine what we expect and appeal to patients as consumers,” Sjoquist says. “We need to do a better job meeting patients where there desires are, not where their fears are.”

Other top challenges cited by survey respondents include:

  • Value-based payments

  • Cost transparency

  • Total consumer health

  • Cybersecurity

  • Healthcare reform

  • Harnessing mobile health technology

  • Addressing pharmacy cost

  • The engaged digital consumer