Five Healthcare Trends To Monitor In 2017

It’s a new year and time to take a close look at the changes and challenges ahead. Healthcare is a dynamic field that requires constant learning and collaboration—it’s one of the things we love about it. In this spirit, the HealthCo team put our heads together and came up with five big topics that we are keeping our eyes on in 2017.

1. The MACRA/MIPS transition: Another year, another name for quality reimbursement programs. For those clinics that have already attested to Meaningful Use in the past, we see this as a seamless transition. As groups look to move into federal quality programs for the first time, there are lots of questions. Health and Human Services has a great website available to help guide your participation. Additionally, the consulting team at HealthCo is already hard at work with clients who want some additional support during this transition, and we are happy to help your team as well. If you would like to discuss how we can help, send us a quick email and we will have a consultant contact you.

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2. Will they, or won’t they…the ACA under fire: The new leadership in Washington, DC has promised a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Repeal is easy, replacement is not. While statistics vary, most experts on the subject agree that without replacement, a simple repeal of the ACA would eliminate coverage for over 20 million Americans. What will be done to provide coverage to these individuals? This has not been explained by those looking to repeal and their answers will be the key legislative development to watch for in 2017.

3. Continued Payer/Provider Collaboration: As quality programs continue to advance, we are looking at 2017 as a year where improved care data will flow between clinics and payors, allowing physicians to provide the required care to patients at the time of treatment, improving RAF scores and quality ratings. Current GE Centricity customers are going to see Payer Provider Connect become available in 2017. It’s our answer to breaking down the walls that exist today between physician and insurance carriers.

4. Data Integrations and Interoperability make real progress: Locally, the HealthCo team is looking to build off the successful integration of Centricity and EPIC that was launched here in Portland at the Oregon Clinic in 2016. As we move into 2017 a HealthCo customer in the Seattle market is moving forward with this same integration. This effort will expand and grow during the next year. On a national level, 2017 looks to be the year that Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, or FHIR, goes mainstream, providing a new and expanded standard for the electronic exchange of healthcare data.

5. Telehealth moves from niche to mainstream: Providers continue to look for ways to more efficiently help their patients while patients want fast answers for the most common health concerns. Thankfully, technology is ready to help provide the solution. Telehealth has continued to expand in the U.S. and we are now seeing progress at the Federal level that should allow for dramatic improvement in adoption of telehealth services in Medicare programs. As provider and patient needs continue to converge, telehealth programs should grow exponentially in 2017.

As the changes to our industry continue to roll in like mysterious rain clouds, we continue to build resiliency to sudden change. Adaptability is how the species survives. I think we can say the same for ambulatory clinics and their IT providers. Together we adapt and thrive in whatever new regulatory and market environments we find ourselves in.