Perspectives

Health information technology

The shift from volume to value drives new health IT priorities

​In today's rapidly changing health care landscape, one major trend has remained constant: many health care organizations are integrating health information technology (HIT) initiatives into broad organizational performance improvement strategies in order to stay competitive. Your organization's ability to not only keep up with those changes, but also get ahead of them, could be the competitive advantage you need to firmly grasp a leadership position in this new health care ecosystem.

Health information technologies and data-driven transformation

Health care is evolving quickly, and the requirements many sought when implementing systems have changed dramatically in the last few years as new health IT priorities have emerged: data sharing, care coordination, patient engagement, and predictive analytics. Overall convergence in the health care sector has accelerated the need for interoperability, not just for EHRs, but also across clinical, financial, and operational systems.

Investments in health IT systems–enterprise health systems, EHRs, HIT shared services, and application management services–continue to be priority capital expenditures for many. The intended outcomes of these health information technology investments are insights that can lead to higher efficiencies and lower costs. But before making investments, it is important to know how health IT systems and analytics platforms can help your organization make better decisions and run more efficiently. From health systems to health plans to life sciences companies, when you consider how each piece of your business can work better with technology, you will likely begin to reap the benefits of technology transformation.

A life sciences and health care perspective: Tech Trends 2018

From “doing digital” to “being digital,” that’s where the life sciences and health care industry needs to go. To help your business navigate digital disruption, this series provides a life sciences and health care perspective on Deloitte's 2018 Tech Trends report. From blockchain to digital reality to the no-collar workforce, explore eight trends that are shaping strategic and operational transformations and redefining life sciences and health care.

Implications for health care providers

As many health care systems place more emphasis on quality care and patient satisfaction, highly integrated information technology systems and processes can play an increasingly vital role in improving clinical safety, continuity, and quality while increasing efficiency and containing costs. Health reform and Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) mandates make it imperative for health systems to connect applications and facilities to meet new payment models and operational challenges. EHRs and interoperability are often a fundamental aspect of virtually every part of these initiatives. Many organizations' key strategic goals hinge on the successful implementation, optimization, and long-term adoption of new health information technologies to reap the benefits of value-based care models. This imperative is not likely to go away, even with changes in Washington, D.C.

Investments in health IT systems–enterprise health systems, electronic health records (EHRs), HIT shared services and application management services–continue to be priority capital expenditures for many. For health systems, addressing interoperability and building a unified patient record has often required unprecedented levels of collaboration among multiple stakeholders (e.g., providers, health plans, patients, wellness vendors, home health agencies, and social services). Many in the health care industry (and providers in particular) have long been frustrated by the lack of interoperability among health systems and IT vendors, medical devices and financial systems. As organizations move from a volume-based to a value-based reimbursement model that needs to rely on population health management to a greater extent, connecting clinical and financial data will likely be essential.

Extracting the full value health IT systems have to offer are key challenge areas. Technology transformation is not only about upgrading to keep up with the latest innovations, but it is also about changing business models to make intelligent use of technology and data. It is at least part of the answer to almost every critical question health systems are asking themselves about how to succeed in the new health care environment.

Ultimately, effective use of technology will likely be necessary for health care providers to extract the full benefits of new value-based care reimbursement models. The new frontier of enterprise health systems, HIT shared services, and analytics-based approaches can help health systems address operational challenges like cost structures, clinical quality, workflows, supply chains, and risk controls. But before making these technology investments, it is important to know how it can help your organization make better decisions and run more efficiently. When you consider how each piece of your business can work better with technology, you will likely begin to reap the benefits of technology transformation.

Read more about health information technology trends for health providers and health systems:

Implications for health plans

If your health plan is like most businesses, information technology is one of your biggest capital budget lines and one of your least visible functions. With the traditional goals of driving efficiency up and costs down, IT has typically served the business as a key "back office" function. Today, for health plans it's time for information technology to come out of the back office and help drive the business, not just support it. The changing health plan marketplace is making new demands that technology can help satisfy—from population management and analytics to the dashboards and mobile tools that bring trust to customer relationships. Innovation and differentiation should become a focus in how your health plan leverages information technology, and plans could be well served by upgrading both their tech tools and tech culture to satisfy the new market. Health IT is no longer just serving the business, it is the business as plans look for new ways to grow and differentiate in today's health landscape.

Technology is now poised to become an engine of agility, innovation, and engagement—with the right leadership, focus, and support. Many plans are differentiating themselves by using technical and analytics experience to provide products and services to the provider community in order to get closer to care delivery and add to the value-chain of care. Others are embracing a "mobile-first" mentality backed up by technology to help expand reach direct to customers. To take health information technology on the journey from cost center to strategic differentiator, health plans should focus on long-term investment, controlled risk-taking and rapid, agile iterations. Plans will likely also need to consider where and how to apply finite resources to this business-centered technology, approach.

Read more about health information technology trends for health plans:

Read our recent research: 2017 US health plan analytics survey

Look deeper. Explore Deloitte's latest insights on health information technology.

Learn more about health IT and Federal health:

Delivering data and technology solutions to Federal Health entities

How we can help

While much progress has been made in terms of IT providing transformative business value in areas such as customer experience, mass customization, clinical management, value-based care, and digital, these investments should be part of a broad strategy, and roadmap with IT at the core of delivering this value. Central to this strategy is the need to address critical questions with greater speed and agility. And ultimately, the way people, policy, and technology work together will likely affect how quickly and successfully change will happen within your organization. Deloitte approaches this challenge from a broad perspective. Our teams are experienced not only in health care and IT, but also in the strategy, talent, and financial disciplines that make IT more than an academic exercise. With a full strategy and IT core to delivering business value, potential benefits may include improved operational efficiency and effectiveness, a higher return on infrastructure spending, and a greater agility in serving customer needs and adopting innovation throughout the business.

Our practice focuses on the following key areas:

  • IT strategy – Creating an implementable strategy and roadmap to effectively support the business.
  • IT governance and portfolio management – Making sure effective structures and disciplines are in place to effectively organize and deliver value.
  • Lean IT – Adding overall agility and effectiveness of the organization to delivery.
  • Enterprise architecture – Creating a framework and a process to link the technology investments to the business.
  • Application portfolio rationalization – Targeting and retiring redundant solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Master data management – Methodology and approach to managing critical information assets instrumental in succeeding.
  • Application, data and infrastructure architecture – Increasing efficiency and effectiveness to attain real-time and scalable solutions.
  • Package selection – Accelerating the decision of build vs. buy capabilities.

Health IT solutions

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