Once again it is time to try our hand at predicting the trends that will shape the course of the New Year. Here is our Part I.
A different approach to risk management will drive the largest partnerships and M&A transactions. The pending CVS/Aetna and Humana/Kindred acquisitions are not about reducing duplicate costs or adding customers to increase scale. They are about the need to offer a more complete service. The argument is that control over value chain will translate into a more efficient organization with better cost management and more favorable health outcomes. Oscar Health’s partnerships with AXA, Humana and Cleveland Clinic are other examples of the same trend. Get ready for more vertical integration and multi-party consortia arrangements. A profound cultural shift towards a value-centric risk management is coming.
EHRs will elevate their position and decidedly expand their footprint. A few years ago, we predicted that the most important clinical/administrative functions will eventually reside within EHRs. Now that the elephant-sized installations are nearly finished, vendors are furiously integrating additional functionalities such as RCM, quality metrics, and even precision medicine; all inside the physician’s workflow. With the exception of precision medicine, many EMRs are either building or buying these capabilities. Those that are operating at the most immediate adjacencies of EMRs need to become either hunters or prey- or else they will vanish.
Blockchains will become the industry’s next key infrastructure component. Distributed ledgers that can record transactions between parties in a verifiable and permanent way have strong use cases for our industry. These vary from patient identity management, RCM and even analytics. Blockchains can single handedly transform the EHR platforms and provide access to providers, payers and consumers by removing much of the interoperability challenges. The seeds of this titanic change were sown a while back, and even though it will take at least 4-6 years before it can reach ubiquity, this game will change everything.
We wish you a prosperous year in 2018. May all your efforts and hard work turn into great achievements for our industry.