By Jay Sultan
As the healthcare industry bids farewell to 2020, we do so with a humbled heart and determined spirit.
The pandemic has raised numerous patient care and system-wide challenges, and industry stakeholders have worked tirelessly to meet them. While managing COVID-19 has rightfully been this year’s predominant concern, other areas will also demand attention in 2021. New federal rules on interoperability and patient access to data will influence the way providers and patients interact with data, while concerns about privacy, security, and price transparency will continue to evolve. Furthermore, 2021 will bring a new outlook on operationalizing social determinants of health (SDOH) data, bringing a deeper understanding of its applications and effectiveness. Health disparities in the U.S. are staggering, and we have a real opportunity to close gaps in care with the appropriate and intelligent use of this key information.
Here’s a closer look at some predictions for the New Year and what they may mean for health systems, patients, and payers in a pandemic- and post-pandemic world.
Closing in on interoperability gaps
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By the end of 2021, we’ll be surprised at how much progress we will have made on adoption of the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule. While the implementation deadline was extended six months for hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all the requirements of the law—including the data blocking provision—remain the same.
Payers and providers alike will move forward with building more applications to manage patient and provider data. In addition to helping them comply with the CMS rule, this will allow them to build data infrastructure for multiple business uses. As a result of this change and the Patient Access API and Provider Directory API policies, we will see data finally begin to flow as patients gain access and control of their healthcare information.
We’ve never had a standardized way in healthcare to authentically and seamlessly move data. Both access and freedom will bring numerous benefits to the industry, easing data exchange friction among providers and enabling better experiences for patients. Health systems will gain the ability to effectively allocate resources and intervene on the right patients at the right time with the right treatments. With the legislative support, next year is when we finally will see this happen.
Building a solid foundation to operationalize SDOH