Technology’s Role in Addressing Healthcare Consumerism

The cost of healthcare is rising for patients, and it’s only expected to get more expensive. Increased insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act, economic growth and an aging population will put more and more demand on the healthcare system. According to research published in Health Affairs:

  • Health spending is expected to grow 5.5 percent per year through 2026.
  • Health spending is expected to grow faster than economic growth between 2013 and 2023.
  • The health share of gross domestic product is expected to rise from 17.2 percent in 2012 to 19.3 percent in 2023.

All of this means patients are behaving more and more like consumers when choosing where and how to receive care. They conduct research, compare services, price shop, and demand more and better information about the services they receive.

Retail health clinics are popping up as a response, offering many primary care services like wellness checks, flu shots and other vaccines. Payers are working with providers to revamp coverage options to empower patients and fall in line with value-based care, rather than fee-for-service based plans.

Along with the advent of consumerism in healthcare, industry changes and regulations have spurred additional challenges: ICD-10, the Affordable Care Act, an increasing adoption of wearable health devices, electronic health records and more. All of these changes means providing consistent care resulting in improved patient outcomes can be difficult.

Healthcare IT Connects the Dots

Tech is increasingly becoming the bridge to connect healthcare consumers with better services. Multiple providers, pharmacies, payer systems, mobile health tech and other systems must be able to connect and communicate with one another, including through:

  • Electronic health records
  • mHealth technology
  • e-Prescription platforms
  • Patient portals
  • Payer dashboards
  • Health insurance exchanges
  • ICD-10 updates
  • Telehealth

Creating this kind of interoperability takes time and expertise. Having an experienced health IT partner is critical to ensuring companies stay abreast of changes and keep pace with rapidly evolving needs.

To read more about HIT and consumer, download the charter to our 2016 emids Healthcare Summit.

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