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HIMSS22 Opens With Top 5 Tech Concerns in Healthcare

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   March 16, 2022

As the conference kicks into gear this week in Orlando, Gartner vice president analyst Mandi Bishop offered five jarring predictions for healthcare and five steps that healthcare leaders should take to address those trends.

Lack of access to virtual care is killing people.

That stark pronouncement was delivered this week by Gartner vice president analyst Mandi Bishop during a virtual presentation by Philips at the HIMSS22 conference in Orlando. It underscores the rapidly shifting healthcare landscape caused in part by the global pandemic and the importance of integrating virtual care with in-person services.

Bishop, called in by Philips to set the tone for its unveiling of the new Philips Healthcare Informatics platform, described "an industry that has been truly disruptive." Affected in no small part by COVID-19, healthcare organizations are adopting digital health technologies at a rapid pace to meet consumer demand and counter growing staffing shortages. At the same time, they're dealing with competition from telehealth companies and retail giants like Amazon and Google, countering cybersecurity threats, and accommodating a trend that sees more services delivered outside the hospital, clinic, or doctor's office and in places like the home.

The industry is learning that the fee-for-service structure that has been in place for decades "is not resilient," Bishop said, and value-based healthcare is finally gaining traction. The challenge lies in making that sustainable.

Bishop outlined five Gartner predictions for the healthcare industry:

  1. By 2025, 40% of the nation's care providers will have shifted 20% of their hospital beds to the home, driven by remote patient monitoring (RPM) platforms and AI services that allow more services to be delivered virtually. Part of this shift is fueled by the hospital at home concept, which sees some intensive care services moving over to the home setting.
  2. By 2025, a digital commerce platform and marketplace for healthcare will connect one quarter of the nation's consumers, payers, and providers. That platform will enable these groups to search for, and in many cases, access or deliver healthcare on demand, bypassing hospitals, clinics, and offices.
  3. By 2025, 10 major employers will be contracting with a major retailer to deliver healthcare services to their employees. Many companies, in fact, are already using health plans that see virtual care as a convenient and less costly alternative to in-person care, and those services will expand as the preventive health and wellness industry builds steam.
  4. By 2025, three quarters of the top 20 life sciences organizations will have dealt with a cybersecurity issue, resulting in roughly $10 billion in revenue losses. Alongside a growing shortage of healthcare providers, cybersecurity is one of the most prevalent concerns among healthcare executives. And the increasing value of healthcare information and the growing complexity of threats to privacy and security isn't making things easier.
  5. And finally, by 2023 some 5% of global deaths will be attributed to a lack of virtual care access. This points not only to the value of virtual care but an ever-growing challenge to accessing care in underserved communities. Simply put, consumers are having problems finding the care they need, and those barriers are putting their lives in danger.

To address these concerns, Bishop laid out Gartner's five recommendations for healthcare leaders:

  1. Invest in so-called hospital at home technologies and strategies to set the groundwork for more RPM and virtual care services.
  2. Prioritize real-time, on-demand data technologies that allow care providers to access the information they need when they need it.
  3. Establish specific values and advantages that one's healthcare organization can focus on in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
  4. Make cybersecurity a priority.
  5. Cultivate digital sensitivity, so that the organization not only adopts virtual care platforms and services but helps consumers who aren't yet acclimated to the digital world.

Adopting—and adapting to—innovation in technology is one of the big themes at HIMSS22 this week. The conference, expected to draw roughly 5,000 attendees over the week to the Orange County Convention Center, is set to the theme of "Reimagine Health," and that's been seen in a flurry of vendor announcements focusing on new connected care technology, ranging from robotics and AI tools to RPM platforms and services that can integrate with the EHR.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.

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