If you are issuing survey results that purport to reflect the industry pulse, it better be good, especially if you have a pretty pretentious company name. So lets look at the outcome of Change Healthcare’s ninth annual survey of health plan leaders and other industry stakeholders. (CHC Survey) 186 business leaders responded to the survey. The first question was around the impact of external market entrants–companies like Google, Apple, the Haven venture, Amazon, etc. The question assumes that these firms will have some impact, which I think is not a certainty. The respondents thought the most likely areas of impact were refinement of the care delivery model, better consumer experience, use of artificial intelligence, and vertical consolidation. With all the buzz about social determinants of health, there actually was slightly less activity among respondents in 2018 than in the prior year. Generally, the respondents said they were working with community resources, adding social risk assessments to medical ones and combining relevant non-medical data with health information. In terms of addressing barriers to health, top actions were improving care coordination, cited by over 60%, addressing transportation issues and addressing food insecurity. Barriers cited to more work on social issues were lack of payment structures, lack of measures of effectiveness and motivating members to help. Patient engagement is noted as a big concern, but there is little consensus on methods and tactics to increase engagement. Offering incentives and improving health literacy are most frequently cited as helpful approaches.
Respondents do not see widespread adoption of full risk value-based arrangements for a number of years, if ever. Neither plans nor providers perceive that clinicians get adequate support from payers in regard to value-based contracts, particularly in regard to standardized measures or adequate data sharing. For all the talk about analytics, these respondents don’t express a high level of value from analytic work to date. Some “digital health” approaches are widely deployed, such as patient portals and telehealth, but most have modest adoption at best. Cybersecurity is recognized as a significant issue, but most respondents think their own efforts are underfunded and underprioritized. Primary opportunities cited include ongoing growth of their businesses and greater use of value-based purchasing, while the major challenges mentioned include government regulation and cost control. So there you have it, hope it lived up to the billing and you feel you have your fingers on the pulse of the industry now.