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Looking ahead to 2020: The next big thing in healthcare

December 20, 2019

Second is connectivity. For healthcare providers with patients in rural and underserved communities, the move to 5G and accessibility to broadband for telemedicine applications could limit the ability to offer RPM. Some more remote areas face the greatest number of patients with chronic conditions. For example, the prevalence of diabetes is 41% higher than the national average in some of Georgia’s least-connected rural communities, and the likelihood of dying from diabetes is higher too.

One of the keys to connecting patients in hard-to-reach rural areas is use of “white spaces,” or unlicensed TV spectrum in the VHF and UHF bands. The Federal Communications Commission is examining how this technology to connect areas where 5G cannot reach, such as in areas of difficult terrain or where wireline providers do not reach with broadband service.

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#2 – Increasing payors’ role in VBC transition
Payors are now seeking a more active role in supporting providers as they transition to VBC. Payors and employers have been faster to adopt consumer-facing digital health tools to encourage patients to proactively manage their health, and they are taking a more active role in supporting patients medication adherence and attention to regular check-ups and screenings. However, multiple patient touch points from payors, providers and employers, can cause confusion for patients and fragment healthcare.

Payors will continue to explore ways that technology can help them align with providers to improve population health outcomes. This will include social determinants of health (SDoH) elements, which require new and innovative ways of engaging and fully understanding patients.

Some payors have already indicated that they want to help providers transition to technology and access resources to manage the risks – either real or perceived – associated with the evolution to VBC. For example, Humana said recently that it “aims to support advanced payment models with technology to allow providers to access information traditionally in the electronic medical record and claims systems to help manage that risk at their level.” The insurer also indicated that it would offer staff and other resources to help providers understand the data required.

#3 – Putting focus back on the patient
Greater reliance on patient reported outcomes (PROs) and SDoH is putting some of the focus back on the patient.

PROs include survey tools that capture the patient's experience in their own words, including their perspective on physical function, pain, and mental and social wellbeing. Real-time utilization of PROs can help providers share decision making with patients, improve quality of care and better allocate resources. While the Medicare Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reimbursement and bundled payment pilots is seeking to help providers justify and optimize compensation for routine collection of PROs, perceived technological barriers and cost has thus far thwarted wider adoption.

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