Technology’s role in health care is creating new opportunities for established health care providers and insurers, as well as entrepreneurs.
That was the conclusion of a panel of health care experts at the Newark Regional Business Partnership series entitled: How Technology is Changing Health Care on Thursday in Newark.
Vini Elevathingal, enterprise architect at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, told attendees that artificial intelligence, machine learning, genomics, precision medicine, wearable technologies, robotics and 3-D printing are among the fastest-growing transformational technology trends.
“I believe that all of these technologies are data points to help clinicians perform better at what they do today,” said Elevathingal.
In her presentation, Elevathingal pointed out that population health management is allowing for more in depth analytics and is creating more focused population cohorts with template care plans and more specific engagement workflows.
Elevathingal noted the health care industry has attracted the attention of non-health care corporate giants including Amazon, Chase, Google and Apple, who want a piece of the $3.5 trillion health care industry.
Gordon Matthews, founding partner of AmplaPay, a company involved in digital payment systems between health care payers and providers, said that among the drivers of the increased role of IT in health care are the ubiquity of data, advances in managing and manipulating data, the smartphone, the Affordable Care Act, the rise in patient-centered care, continued growth in the cost of care, and open and simple application programming interfaces.
“The patient has become more and more the center of health care and health care is now delivered in a patient-centered way. Most health care systems and most doctors acknowledge that and are moving more and more toward patient-centeredness,” said Matthews.
Joe Scott, executive vice president, Health Care Transformation, RWJBarnabas Health said about 25 percent of health care spending in the U.S. is considered wasteful and that between $760 billion and $935 billion every year is wasted in health care.
Scott said that RWJBarnabas is working with its local hospitals to create and sustain healthy communities through value-based care models.
“It’s about how we look to the future through basic technologies that are out there to make health care easier, to provide insight into patients through data analytics, to support how we can coordinate and manage the care better and then layer on social determinants of health to make sure that patients have those social determinants so we are able to identify them and remove barriers to health care going forward,” Scott said.
According to Scott, RWJBarnabas is focused on understanding patients from a data analytics perspective. “We are working with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and looking at a robust set of technologies that can really give us insight into what is happening with patients,” he said.
“Anyplace in health care where you can put the patient in the center of everything you can do … if you look at health systems and doctors offices that are successful, they are the ones that kept the patients at the center, everything emanates from that patient care model. If you get that right everything else falls into place,” said Alagia.
He also said that some of the new technologies are enabling tools that help health care entities do a better job of taking care of patients and that as patients have access to more information they become more empowered. “Empowering the patient is great,” he stated.