Live from #HIMSS11: Clarity of positioning in world of ACOs essential for healthcare IT
Walking the five-football-field show floor at HIMSS11, it’s impossible not to feel surrounded and somewhat attacked by what everyone has deemed the latest buzzword in healthcare: accountable care organizations, or ACOs. But unlike other buzzwords, it seems to be taking hold and not only from a marketing perspective.
HIMSS11 is showing never-before seen signs that the healthcare IT (HIT) companies that will succeed in today’s increasingly crowded and noisy healthcare space will be the ones that show they understand – and also make an impact on – more than just one link in today’s healthcare chain.
ACO is the term used to define a system of collaborative healthcare where cost and risk is shared among all major parties – physicians, payers, providers, patients and pharma. Someday soon, physicians no longer will be paid by each procedure, surgery, test or patient visit; instead, they’ll be paid by the quality of patient care and rewarded for healthy patients. And of course, in order for the system to work, all parties need to talk to each other and share key clinical data that will ultimately help improve outcomes. Enter healthcare IT.
At HIMSS11, the consolidation and innovation of the past year, driven by the ACO concept, shines through. The Ingenix acquisition of our client Picis (and A-Life, and EHR, and Axolotl…the list goes on) last year was writing on the wall: The companies attracting the most attention are the ones speaking the ACO language, highlighting the benefits they can provide across the healthcare chain and demonstrating how they offer keys to things like population health, reducing costs and collaboration across caregivers.
Of course, there are still some vendors that may remain in a one-solution silo from a product-offering perspective, but very few booth signs or pieces of marketing collateral are missing the “healthcare chain” idea. The healthcare media has been telling the health IT integration tale for years, and while many vendors have echoed the message for just as long, HIMSS11 is a clear sign that this is no longer just a future concept, but is finally becoming a reality.
Whether healthcare IT companies offer technology, consulting or a device, if your business isn’t clear about how it plays in the new world of ACOs, you’ll likely be left out of the story.