Strategic Planning

Key Insights on the Future of Healthcare

Telehealth in the future of healthcare

After analyzing the responses of health systems, clinicians, payers and patients to questions on digital health, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and financial health for our Future of Healthcare Report, HIMSS and its Trust partners were able to identify some possible trends in healthcare in the coming years.

We spoke to our Trust partners at AccentureThe Chartis Group and ZS about some of the findings related to digital health, AI/ML, and financial health, and what the future of healthcare holds. Here are their thoughts.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, how are clinicians viewing digital health going forward?

Darryl-Gibbings-Isaac-circle-150Darryl Gibbings-Isaac, MD, Clinical Innovation Subject Matter Expert, Accenture; part of the HIMSS Trust:

Clinician digital health adoption will not revert back to pre-pandemic levels. Seventy percent of clinicians in the report said they’d use it at the same or greater levels as before. Since patients are going to continue to demand this convenience, clinicians need to be able to provide this location-agnostic type of care.

What about payers and their adoption of digital health?

Shreesh-Tiwari-circle-150Shreesh Tiwari, Principal, ZS; part of the HIMSS Trust:

There is a strategic shift happening. Like most other industries in our lives, healthcare is shifting and getting more personalized. This is being driven by health IT startups and big tech. Payer adoption is the highest because it benefits them the most.

What’s on the horizon for health systems and how they invest in digital health?

Tom-Kiesau-circle-150Thomas Kiesau, Director and Digital Leader, The Chartis Group; part of the HIMSS Trust:

Health systems have to challenge the role of traditional assets—those constructs aren’t going to work anymore. And they need to change how they invest in physical assets, in the context of an increasingly digital healthcare landscape. There’s a long list of digital capabilities that health systems need to push out. We’ve done virtual care version 1.0, but we need to do a lot more.

How do patients view AI/ML?

Lauren-Goodman-circle-150Lauren Goodman, Director, Market Intelligence, HIMSS:

When it comes to AI/ML, patients are enthusiastic in looking at how it can add to their own healthcare journey, but do have concerns with data security, breaches and attacks on healthcare systems. In the future, when it comes to patient data and their confidence in the level of data we have as an industry, we have to safeguard it and talk about how we’re safeguarding it. Transparency needs to happen.

What about clinicians? What’s their stance on AI/ML?

Dr. Gibbings-Isaac: Clinicians believe that AI/ML is half of their future prosperity. Not only that, 76% said that AI/ML is not a threat to their job security, and they will gladly partner with AI/ML to augment their own clinical capabilities for the better.

As wearable tech becomes more prevalent, how are patients feeling about it?

Goodman: The overall sentiment is positive. When it comes to wearable tech, more than half of patients are likely to use it in the future if it helps with better diagnosis and treatment. In a HIMSS Market Intelligence study conducted in April 2021, more than half of clinicians recommended use of patient grade wearable tech (Apple Watch / Fitbit / etc.) to their patients to monitor chronic health conditions.  Clinicians also mentioned patients being more engaged in their healthcare journey when they’re using wearable tech, as well as helping diagnose their own health conditions by detecting arrhythmias, for example.

Going forward, what do health systems see as their biggest threat financially?

Kiesau: In the future, traditional competitors (hospitals and physician groups) are still perceived as the biggest threat to health systems financially, however, there’s a notable increase in all of the other categories on non-traditional competitors, our survey found. For instance, retail healthcare moved up significantly, and is one specific non-traditional competitor to watch going forward.

And for payers, what does the future hold for their financial health?

Tiwari: In the future, we’re going to see a greater adoption of more value-based care, things like population health management and maintaining higher member experience. Some of the barriers to of adoption will be around care management and providers’ maturity from a data/tech perspective. But we’ve made great progress in the past few months.

The views and opinions expressed in this content or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.

Future of Healthcare Report

In the Future of Healthcare Report, HIMSS and its Trust partners—Accenture, The Chartis Group and ZS—share insights on the trends and challenges that have defined the past year and how they will impact the future.

Download the report and explore what’s next