The Universal Equation for Healthcare Transformation….Maybe

As HIMSS13 approaches, we continue our pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts. Below is a guest contribution from Andy Rocklin, Solution Partner, Health Sciences at EMC, on patient-facing IT engagement models. Watch for more pre-HIMSS posts this week as we get closer to the show.

If you have read any of my blogs, or my most recent Seducing Porcupines you know that I spend a significant amount of time analyzing how technology can influence the largest cost driver in healthcare: patient behaviors. This year’s HIMSS conference shines a spotlight on the many motives, methods and stakeholders offering related solutions.

An occupational hazard of consultants is to simplify the world to a level we can understand. For me, the explosion in patient-facing IT solutions boils down this equation:


To start let's unpack the factors on the left side of the equation.

Multiple interested constituents are affecting the transformation of healthcare. Consumers are being forced to become more accountable for their care, but they are not yet fully empowered to effect positive change in results. Employers and CMS, who are the ultimate Healthcare financiers in the U.S., are now positioned to use information technology to exert even more influence on insured individuals and Healthcare Payers. Providers are being asked to assume more risk in the burgeoning pay for performance model and they are feeling pressure to use technology to predict and manage their risks. Healthcare Payers, having all but exhausted their traditional levers for reducing costs, are exploring how to incent and engage members in managing their care.

New technologies platforms are multiplicative factors in this transformation. Patients need extended care teams and payers to communicate, collaborate, and plan—often across organizational and historical boundaries. For example robust mHealth and Care Coordination tools like those provided by Intel, enable Healthcare Provider teams to build a technology platform for engaging patients and managing care. These tools also support the growth of patient facing mobile applications which are on the leading edge of care transformation.

Though technology platforms are multipliers, aggregating, accessing and analyzing rapidly growing pools of Big Data will exponentially grow value that Healthcare Providers and Payers can deliver. Using technologies and services from EMC, healthcare providers and payers can create better customized care guidelines through refined benchmarking against more precise patient cohorts. Providers will be able to analyze their big data to do an immediate evaluation of health status changes and to build patient engagement models tied to psychographic profiles.

So what’s the verdict who will be most effective helping moving the consumer behavior dial with robust technology platforms and big data analytics? Well, to be honest, the jury is still out. We’ve seen that changing patient behavior is hard to do as human nature will resist change, even for the good. (Anyone else with abandoned New Year’s resolutions already?) A look around HIMSS will show efforts and tools that many providers, payers and employers will test in efforts to change behavior and outcomes. Some will succeed. I believe the ingredients to meaningful change are in the equation above and I believe that  Intel and EMC have technologies and services to help our customers perfect the recipe.

What do you think?