Credit Suisse https://www.credit-suisse.com has just published key takeaways from their “Healthcare Technology, 2020 Digital Health Outlook Survey” where investors & industry stakeholders describe what they believe is most likely to drive digital health growth and healthcare innovations in 2020.
The key trends for 2020 likely to drive digital health growth include, employers getting more actively involved in their healthcare strategies, further virtual care & AI adoption, focusing on social determinants of health, primary care reinvention, addressing $1 trillion waste in the U.S. healthcare system, shifting towards value-based care, improving cybersecurity, moving towards 5G cellular technology, and the use of blockchain.
There is excitement related to virtual care with 58% of respondents selecting “Virtual Care/Telemedicine” as the technology/innovation that is the most exciting. The focus on virtual visits, remote monitoring, virtual consults, and telemedicine is getting significant attention due to consumer demand for a more patient-centric healthcare system.
Although reimbursement laws and policies have evolved in recent years, the payment parity adoption among states is still low, plus other limitations on telehealth commercial reimbursement continues to exist in some states.
Telehealth adoption among employers and providers continues to rise, yet utilization rates remain low because of issues such as branding and the lack of patient understanding that can occur with the use of telemedicine.
There is also a barrier to the use of telemedicine from patients’ and the physicians’ perspective. This will require providing education and marketing needed to get patients and practitioners to feel comfortable using telemedicine on a regular basis.
Some 70% of hospitals and health systems executives responded that they currently use telehealth and most of the respondents expect to expand the use of telehealth over the next 1-3 years, 23% do not currently use telehealth but expect to add the capability over the next 1-3 years, and 7% do not use telehealth and aren’t planning to add the telemedicine capability.
Among those that use telehealth, 65% of respondents use telehealth for stroke care while 54% use telehealth for behavioral health/psychiatry. Behavioral health/crisis care, non-emergency follow-up, and cardiology were all above 20% as well. The percentage of employers offering behavioral health services via telehealth is expected to increase from 44% in 2019 to 48% in 2020 which indicates that telebehavioral still remains an opportunity in the large group employer market.
Healthcare organizations are looking towards AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics technologies as a means to solve many future problems arising in healthcare. According to an Accenture analysis, growth in the AI health market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2021. AI applications can potentially create $150 billion in annual savings for the U.S healthcare economy by 2026.
According to Accenture Analysis, the 10 top AI applications include using for robot-assisted surgery, helping virtual nursing assistants, assisting in administrative workflow, detecting fraud, detecting and reducing dosage errors, use for connected machines, identifying clinical trial participants, providing preliminary diagnoses, for automated image diagnosis, and for cybersecurity.
By using AI powered mobile apps, patients can report symptoms and receive either a referral to a service or self-care advice. An increasing number of apps can also be connected to bluetooth enabled health devices.
There have been estimates that Social Determinants of Health can account for 70-90% of total health outcomes, which makes it imperative to identify social support structures, community resources along with other variables that can affect health outcomes.
The long march towards value-based care is having problems and today a significant percentage of revenues for healthcare providers are still attributable to fee-for-service. Healthcare providers and other industry leaders are still facing significant challenges with value-based care adoption, but provider incentives and market consolidation are expected to help accelerate the transition.
Almost one-fourth of respondents picked lack of resources and staffed and insufficient healthcare IT software as the biggest barriers for a transition to a value-based system. Also, gaps in interoperability was picked by the second highest number of respondents to impact transitioning to value-based care.
Vulnerability to cyberattacks is a major issue with the increasing reliance on technology & data as compared to other industries. Medical records are more valuable to steal given the vast amounts of personal sensitive data that can be used and reused for identify fraud. It has been found that a medical record is over ten times more valuable on the black market than a credit card number. Also, the increasing amount of Internet of Things devices being used in healthcare such as pacemakers and wearable location trackers for the elderly are adding to the risk
Credit Suisse based on conversations with companies, found the use for blockchain technology in healthcare can help maintain regulatory grade data, provide better claims management, enable provider directories, and used to track drug usage.
In January 2019, Aetna/CVSHealth, launched a collaboration with PNC Bank and IBM to design a blockchain healthcare network which includes Anthem and the Health Care Service Corporation. The collaboration intends to use blockchain to promote efficient claims and for payment processing to enable secure healthcare information exchanges and o maintain current and accurate provider directories.
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