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HIMSS Survey: Providers Are Ready to Embrace Connected Health

More than half of the health systems surveyed say they're using at least three different types of mHealth technology, and more than half are looking at new platforms.

By Eric Wicklund

- More than half of the hospitals recently surveyed by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) are using at least three different kinds of connected health technology, and roughly half say they expect to do more with mHealth tools soon.

connected health

And where are they looking to expand? One-third point to concierge services.

“Self-insured employers have really recognized the value of concierge services to pull costs out of the system,” said Tom Martin, PhD, director of Healthcare Information Systems for HIMSS, who released the results of the survey Wednesday at the HIMSS16 conference and exhibition in Las Vegas.

Other areas of expansion, according to the survey of some 227 HIMSS members, focus on consumer-generated health data, such as readings from wearables (22 percent), SMS texting services (20 percent) and remote patient monitoring platforms and mobile-optimized patient portals (each at 19 percent).

“The healthcare ecosystem is increasingly converging on patient centric technology solutions,” Martin said in remarks accompanying the survey’s release. “The role of the provider is to expand far beyond the walls of the exam room, especially as our healthcare system transitions towards value based purchasing. The (2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey) findings illustrate the importance of interactive relationships between physicians and individuals and technology as a means to advance comprehensive health and healthcare.”

The survey, one of several released by HIMSS and its members during this week’s conference, underscores the value placed on new technology by health systems seeking to move from fee-for-service healthcare to a consumer-facing, value-based system. Martin said health systems are relying on meaningful use incentives to develop tools like mobile apps, remote patient monitoring programs and telehealth services.

He said health systems are particularly focused on being the first to adopt mHeqlth in their geographic regions, and using that as an incentive to attract new business.

“Many see this as a competitive advantage,” he said.

The survey also revealed a sharp divide between the two primary reasons for using mHealth platforms. Health systems are adopting video consults, RPM platforms and mobile-optimized portals to appeal to consumers, while they’re picking up RPM tools, SMS texting and concierge services to meet the needs of their clinicians. Surprisingly, SMS texting was seen as one of the top drivers for provider satisfaction but the least important connected health tool for patient satisfaction.

They’re also using telehealth and mobile-optimized portals to meet both patient satisfaction and patient engagement benchmarks.

The survey found that 80 percent of health systems are using at least one connected health technology, while more than half expect to adopt new technologies and 5 percent of those not using the technology expect to jump into the sandbox soon. More than 40 percent of those surveyed said they expect to save money in deploying concierge services, telehealth platforms or RPM programs.

Martin and Jennifer Horowitz, MA, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, senior director of research for HIMSS North America, said they expect to release more results from the survey in coming months.


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