Five Game Changers for Hospitals

San Fernando Valley Business Journal 03.10.2014

By Yale Miller

While 2013 was a game-changing year for the healthcare industry,Aegis Health Group anticipates five key developments that will alter the healthcare landscape for hospitals in the coming year.

Population Health 2.0 – As the Affordable Care Act has intensified the nation’s focus on improving health and preventing chronic disease, hospital CEOs have moved population health management up the priority scale. “In 2014 we expect more hospitals to make investments in consumer-directed technologies that put their population health programs at the fingertips of local consumers,” says Yale Miller, Aegis Health Group’s executive vice president of operations. “With almost three-quarters of Internet users looking online for health information, we know this is essential.”  Tools like online population health portals will allow hospitals to collect, track and act on the health risks of area consumers before they become patients.

Payment Reform – Providers will continue to live in two worlds as they capitalize on fee-for-service while incorporating pay-for-performance into their business structures. This year healthcare executives will find themselves optimizing the former while solidifying strategies to remain viable in a performance-based environment.

Clinical Integration – Hospital alignment and integration with medical staffs gained popularity last year as hospitals began considering the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and similar models. “Clinical integration is becoming an increasingly attractive option for hospitals looking to share the load and optimize their operations,” notes Miller. “We anticipate that more health systems will move in this direction in the coming year.”

Colossal Data – “Big data” is becoming old news as technology is allowing healthcare organizations to collect massive amounts of data. The key in 2014 will be to make data actionable by employing practical methods of leveraging it in a way that grows revenues and offers insight to strategies for increasing market share.

Consumerism – Not only do hospitals need to execute consumer-directed healthcare practices that differentiate them as “providers of choice” in their markets, they also must identify ways to meet consumers where they are, predicts Miller. “As an industry, we must communicate with consumers in a way that is personal, engaging and actionable if we are to expect them to adopt a healthier lifestyle,” he adds.  These communications solutions can run from personal health desks to a variety of Web and mobility options.

Aegis anticipates that these five elements will have a lasting impact on how hospitals connect with consumers, manage their back-end operations and build industry partnerships in 2014 and beyond.

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