Strategic Planning

Key Insights on the State of Healthcare

Reading key insights on the state 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 State of Healthcare Report, HIMSS and its Trust partners were able to identify key insights on current trends and challenges in healthcare that can help drive real progress.

HIMSS spoke to its Trust partners at Accenture, The Chartis Group and ZS about some of the more significant findings related to digital health, AI/ML, and financial health. Here’s what they had to say.

Overall, how have clinicians weathered the COVID-19 storm?

Darryl-Gibbings-Isaac-circle-150Darryl Gibbings-Isaac, MD, Clinical Innovation Subject Matter Expert, Accenture; part of the HIMSS Trust: Clinicians have shown a lot of resiliency in this new norm. They were really challenged and stressed by the pandemic, but most remained generally satisfied with their career and had a good outlook for the future.

What about patients? Any key insights into how they managed the pandemic?

Lauren-Goodman-circle-150Lauren Goodman, Director, Market Intelligence, HIMSS: The net sentiment is that patients want to go back to pre-COVID-19 times when it comes to their healthcare experience. But the reality is that it’s not just specific to healthcare, they have pandemic fatigue in all areas of their lives.

What are payers most concerned about in the current state of healthcare?

Shreesh-Tiwari-circle-150Shreesh Tiwari, Principal, ZS; part of the HIMSS Trust: Based on the research, we found that payers are very concerned about the rising costs of healthcare. In fact, more than 90% believe that the cost is going to increase due to the aging population and the focus on safety measures as a result of pandemic—preparing for if and when another breakout happens is going to cost money.

From a financial health perspective, what do you think is on the horizon for health systems?

Tom-Kiesau-circle-150Thomas Kiesau, Director and Digital Leader, The Chartis Group; part of the HIMSS Trust: One key takeaway was the need for significant investment required in both traditional areas of focus (clinicians and facilities) as well as new areas, such as IT and digital infrastructure. Those significant investments, paired with the consistent belief that the national push toward value-based care will continue, will create an even greater imperative for health systems to double down on transforming their operations and cost models.

The pandemic forced much of healthcare to happen online. How do patients feel about their digital care?

Goodman: Most patients don’t feel confident about the level of care they believe they receive on telehealth visits, they prefer clinicians physically examining them. Their other concerns include inaccurate diagnosis and cybersecurity. Clinicians may feel the level of care given on a telehealth visit is similar to an in-person visit, but the patient’s perception is their reality. And, only 27% state that they have had a better patient experience on telehealth vs. an in-person visit.

How are payers viewing AI/ML now?

Tiwari: In terms of tech adoption, there’s overwhelming optimism here. This is a fortunate off-shoot of COVID-19, where tech has facilitated the interaction between all parties. Healthcare is now becoming health IT. What could’ve taken years to adopt happened in a matter of months, which is a blessing in disguise coming out of the pandemic.

What about clinicians?

Dr. Gibbings-Isaac: There’s an openness to using AI/ML. Some are already using it and have had training, and many others are gearing up to do so. Clinicians often complain of having too much administrative work, so they’re looking for AI/ML to automate that going forward.

Are health systems prioritizing digital health?

Kiesau: One of the top priorities we found was improving patient access with digital initiatives. Nearly 70% of respondents had it as a top three priority. What that tends to mean is that we want to get patients more digital appointments, but there is limited availability or long backlogs. Physicians haven’t completely bought into it yet, but patients want it. So we’re at a crossroads: We need to better serve patients, but we’re not equipped to do it.

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.

State of Healthcare Report

In the State of Healthcare Report, HIMSS and its Trust partners—Accenture, The Chartis Group and ZS—uncover healthcare barriers and offer key takeaways on current trends, opportunities and insights to drive real progress.

Download the report and explore the data