Like Air Traffic Control For Healthcare

flying cadeuciiIn December THCB asked insiders and pundits across health care to give us their armchair quarterback predictions for 2015.  What tectonic trends do they see looming on the horizon?  What’s overrated?  What nasty little surprises do they see lying in wait? What will we all be talking about this time next year?  Over the next week, we’ll be featuring their responses in a series of quick takes.

Jacob Reider MD, Former Deputy National Coordinator, HHS

As care providers increasingly embrace shared risk payment models, we will see a rapid growth of interest in care coordination and health IT tools that support shared decisions.

a)     Care Coordination.  While this remains a bit of a buzz word, the need for a toolset that helps a community of clinicians care for a group of people in a coordinated manner is obvious to anyone who has been on either end of the stethoscope.  The current health IT tools and processes weren’t developed for this purpose – and therefore do a terrible job of it.  2015 will see the emergence of technology and services that help teams identify and maintain individual patient goals, optimal pathways toward those goals, and then manage the participants toward shared success.  Think of this as “air-traffic control” for health care. If we know where we’re going.  This toolset (and the humans who use it) can help make sure everyone arrives safely.

b)     Do we know where we’re going? Have we made the right diagnosis?  If so – do we have the right treatment plan?  Clinical decisions need to be shared between care providers, patients, family members and other participants.  2015 will see the next step in the evolution of traditional provider-focused clinical decision support (CDS) tools toward tools that also offer research-based personalized care guidance.  This patient’s unique needs can be defined, understood by all parties, and then acted upon.  If care coordination is air-traffic control, perhaps this personalized decision support will be the Waze for health care.  Like Waze, this will take years to reach the mainstream, but when it does, none of us will leave home without it.