Three key takeaways from this year’s AHIP Institute & Expo

I’ve been coming to the AHIP Institute & Expo for many years. Like past years, this year’s event helped to clarify a few key trends that I’ve observed in an active first half of 2016. With the summer winding down, it also gave me a sense of what I hope to see in the second half of the year.

First, many stakeholders still feel uneasy about the evolving regulatory environment. With MACRA top-of-mind for many in the industry—not to mention the more than occasional speculation about whether it will be delayed—I heard a wide variety of stakeholders comment on how difficult it has been to prepare for the (greatly accelerated) shift toward risk-based reimbursement.

I also heard many stakeholders—particularly the payers—express that the uncertain regulatory environment has, much like during the years preceding the Affordable Care Act, encouraged a renewed focus on building flexibility into the enterprise. Regardless of role—CEO, CIO, CTO—I heard each express how they viewed their role as critical to helping the enterprise flex and adapt in an evolving regulatory environment.

Second, more than in past years, I heard stakeholders talk a lot about data. One large payer that I spoke with expressed frustration over trying to bring together what seemed like endless volumes of data following a recent acquisition. Another large payer that I spoke with had been struggling to manage the influx of new data sources that followed an expansion of the organization’s consumer engagement strategy.

But what I heard more often than not was that payers were trying to use their data in new ways – as an operational asset and not just an analytics platform. For many payers that I spoke with, this meant focusing more resources than ever before on optimizing their data strategy, both in terms of the technologies that they rely on to integrate data, and how closely they align their data strategy with driving business objectives. For some, this even meant viewing their data strategy as a strategic advantage.

Finally, I was reminded that the healthcare marketplace continues to be saturated with apps. Don’t get me wrong—apps can generate significant value for both payers and providers alike, but I heard a fundamental disconnect between where many stakeholders wanted to focus—driving enterprise-wide business objectives in an uncertain regulatory environment—and where they were too often focused—generating new apps on top of old data silos to address discrete business challenges.

I think (hope) that this disconnect will change in the second half of 2016, especially as stakeholders continue the conversation on the role that data should have in driving their businesses. It’s my hope that the industry will make the jump to a next gen, “data centric” strategy, understand apps are only as good as, and as flexible as, the data they sit on, and leverage modern enterprise data strategies to make their lives a little easier and the mission to deliver great service to their consumers that much closer. 

About the author: As Vice President of Healthcare and Life Sciences as MarkLogic, Bill is responsible for driving growth globally in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.