Matthew Gitelis, CEO of PatientIQ, a health IT company deriving insights from patient-reported outcomes data, has some thoughts about healthcare information technology in 2023.
For one, that patient experience will be king in the year ahead. Between CMS doubling the weight of patient-experience CAHPS metrics and its recent unveiling of new performance metrics pertaining to patient-reported outcomes, it’s clear that patients will be a top priority in 2023, Gitelis said.
On another front, he makes a distinction between “smart” versus “smarter” analytics for 2023. Next year, provider organizations must leverage “smarter” analytics applications, those that synthesize predictive and descriptive capabilities and leverage machine learning technologies to truly move the needle, he contended.
And he added that healthcare organizations need to embrace the move to data-driven medicine. The U.S. healthcare analytics market is projected to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2030. Few things are as powerful as data in medicine, yet to this day, so many clinical decisions are made without sufficient quantitative and qualitative data to support them, he said.
We spoke with Gitelis to get him to dive deep into these predictions and help healthcare provider organization CIOs and other health IT leaders prepare for the year ahead.
Q. You predict the patient experience will be king in 2023. Why and how?
A. Improving the patient experience isn’t a new goal – it has been at the forefront of medicine for years – but the question we need to be asking is how successful have our efforts and technologies been in moving the needle? Because the stakes aren’t getting any smaller.
CMS, for example, has doubled the weight of patient-experience CAHPS metrics, it has unveiled new performance metrics pertaining to patient-reported outcomes, and healthcare organizations are simultaneously facing steep competition for potential incentive payments. Our governing bodies are making it clear that improving the patient experience is no longer a “nice” objective – it’s an essential one.
Additionally, beyond the financial and operational ramifications of not adequately leveling up the patient experience, we know clinical outcomes can suffer when patients have poor perceptions of their care – and patient expectations aren’t lowering. Improving quality of care – and patient perceptions of quality – has never been more critical.
Healthcare organizations have their work cut out for them. It’s a daunting task to boost the overall care experience, particularly if the infrastructure to do it effectively isn’t there – which, for many, it isn’t. And, as healthcare organizations continue to climb out of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have to be strategic in where they invest already strained resources.
In 2023, healthcare organizations will need to continue to prioritize the digital front door and invest in the ability to collect, measure and act upon patient-reported perceptions of their health and care experience. Clinical and operational outcomes depend on it.
Q. You also suggest the difference between “smart” and “smarter” analytics will be of critical importance in 2023. How so?
A. Healthcare organizations have been skeptical of analytics or technologies that promise to make healthcare “smarter” – and not without reason. For one, some innovations have failed to recognize that healthcare is inherently a people business.
The goal should always be to supplement or augment the clinician – not replace. Secondarily, some “smart” technologies have promised to help but, ultimately, ended up hurting. For example, one needs to only look a few years into the past, when “smart” clinical decision support tools embedded in the EHR were hailed as a Holy Grail of precision medicine and now are correlated with alert fatigue and exacerbating clinician burnout.
Some basic, descriptive analytics applications – isolating meaningful trends like the presence of multiple comorbidities among 60-year-old patients – are shedding light on population health trends, but these aren’t a reflection of the full potential of analytics. They’re also not sufficient.
Healthcare organizations increasingly require more robust functionalities and more predictive capabilities. They need to know not only how many risk factors a patient possesses, but also the patient’s odds of success.
For example, consider an orthopedic practice with a total knee replacement surgery success rate of 95%. If that practice doesn’t use advanced analytics tools to mine data and analyze why 5% of patients are reporting poor outcomes, they won’t have the precise intelligence they need to spot or resolve a potential problem. Instead, they run the risk of the problem worsening, and overall outcomes taking a hit.
Smarter analytics applications, or those that synthesize predictive and descriptive capabilities and leverage machine learning technologies, are critical. We must go beyond combing through all available information to the point where we recognize best practices aligned with clinical success.
Q. Why do you say more healthcare provider organization leaders will embrace data-driven medicine in 2023?
A. There’s a reason the U.S. healthcare analytics market is projected to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2030 – few things are as powerful as data in medicine. However, despite its power, so many clinical and operational decisions in healthcare today are made without sufficient data.
Providers need both quantitative and qualitative data to comprehensively understand how their clinical decisions translate into patient outcomes. They need the ability to gather insights at the individual patient level and then make incrementally smarter decisions that positively alter the delivery of patient care.
And administrative leadership needs the same level – they need the ability to define the quality of the care they provide and identify where they fall short and where they excel above the rest. As they continue to feel the pressure to succeed with new quality metrics in 2023, it will be critical for them to remember that quality improvement isn’t possible without data that tells a story or leads to action.
Similarly, as healthcare payers and employers continue to look to partner with strong value-based care providers, healthcare organizations will need to back up their ability with outcomes and satisfaction data. They will need to up their game and meet the directive for data-driven care in 2023.
The challenge, however, particularly for technical leadership looking to support clinical stakeholders, will be how. The key will be to adopt smarter tools that extract and analyze both structured and patient-reported outcomes data to drive process changes that correlate with both clinical quality and business success.