What’s top of mind for health systems in 2020

Health systems are looking to boost patient engagement and invest more in data and analytics in 2020, according to a new report looking at the top initiatives for next year. In general, health systems are prioritizing investments that move them toward value-based care.

The report was conducted by the Center for Centered Medicine (CCM) in consultation with KLAS research and CCM partners. In-depth interviews were conducted with 70 healthcare professionals across 65 unique health systems, with the majority of respondents being chief information officers.

Two-thirds of respondents said they plan to invest in data aggregation and analytics technology, such as fully integrated electronic medical records and population health tools, according to the report. Two-thirds also said they will invest in patient engagement technology like patient portals, telehealth, patient education and customer relationship management systems.

Patient engagement is more important to health systems thanks to a growing demand for more capabilities, driven by the consumerism in healthcare. Patient portals were identified by 82% of respondents as among the top three engagement strategies, and 70% said they were confident engagement platforms, mechanisms and technologies could help change patient behavior.

However, organizations still struggle with patient engagement––just 17% report a high level of patient engagement and only 35% of patients, on average, have adopted patient engagement technologies in place today. And adoption by patients may be the biggest roadblock to health organizations.

“Respondents believe that they have at least given patients the opportunity to engage, though they acknowledge that much of their ability to affect change is contingent on patients actually adopting the technology,” the report reads.

When it comes to data and analytics, healthcare organizations are well on their way to full integration, including clinical data, claims, financial and other sources. However, smaller organizations are more behind than large ones, according to the report. EMRs are a central component of integration strategy for the majority of respondents, as well as an average of two or three additional analytics tools to support integration efforts.

Improving patient clinical outcomes was the top priority driving data aggregation efforts among healthcare organizations, followed by lowering the cost of care and managing population health.

Fewer organizations said they are interested in precision medicine technology, though 62% surveyed last year named it as a top priority and a high-impact health IT area within the next five years.

See the full report here.