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How Organizations Can Prepare for the Health Care Reformation

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Hal Wolf

President and CEO, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Health care is undergoing a period of transformation unlike anything the industry has ever experienced. It is the same disruptive, technology-enabled shift that has been changing industries like banking, travel and transportation over the past decade. A perfect storm of other factors are collectively disrupting the status quo — health care expenditures are continuing to considerably outpace GDP growth.

Modern problems

In the United States, an estimated 11,000 people per day are reaching the age of 65 (the “silver tsunami”), with increasingly complex and chronic care needs that in many cases are simply the result of longer life expectancy. Consumer demands are growing ever louder, as the patient experience with the health care system moves away from episodic interactions and toward an ongoing, connected relationship. Reimbursement models are also beginning to make a transformative shift away from the fee-for-service activity model toward a value-based outcome focused system of care. 

All of these factors are fundamentally changing the way health care is delivered. Organizations are coping with these rising costs and increased demand levels by consolidating to gain economies of scale, but this potentially impacts competition and choice. 

While these changes often lead to more questions than answers, one thing is certain: Health reformation is upon us and we all must prepare.

Modern solutions

Fortunately, the industry is realizing to the capabilities of digital health tools that facilitate better patient experiences and reimagine care delivery, making it more efficient, convenient, globally diverse and safer. 

For example, with today’s telemedicine solutions, physicians can video conference with patients who may be in rural or overcrowded urban areas without access to nearby care. Internet-connected wearable devices can help detect potential health problems and monitor chronic conditions. Individualized care is being bolstered by the incorporation of precision medicine tools that use sophisticated data analysis. The possibilities seem endless. 

In today’s digital world, technology extends health care outside the physical walls of our hospitals and doctors’ offices. The experience of receiving care suddenly becomes more seamless and personalized — exactly what today’s consumers demand and deserve. 

Championing health care modernization

For nearly 60 years, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and our 76,000 members have championed solutions to the challenge of managing information and technology, always with the goal of realizing the full health potential of every human, everywhere. 

As a global adviser and thought leader, we believe it is our responsibility to equip the industry with the expertise and resources to support the best possible decisions regarding their technology strategies, and steer the industry toward the horizon of health reformation. Collectively, we help health care leaders make sense of the myriad changes transforming health care, and spark lasting change for patients and the organizations that support them.

Hal Wolf, President and CEO, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, [email protected]

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