Redesigning care delivery is on healthcare's agenda for 2018, survey shows
The value in healthcare in 2018 lies in redesigning care delivery and the payment system, according to providers, academics, investors and others.
A little over two-thirds of the 300 respondents to venture capital firm Venrock's survey said they expect accountable care organizations to undergo "rapid" or "some" growth in the year ahead. About the same portion said they expect that kind of growth from insurance too.
Nearly all the respondents said they expect analytics and big data—which could play into both how care is delivered and how it's paid for—to grow in the coming year.
"People are really now getting more interested in things they were less interested in in the past, like care delivery," said Bob Kocher, a partner at Venrock. "We've gotten a little more substantive and less trendy."
Nevertheless, Amazon is poised to make the most headway of the tech giants in healthcare in 2018 despite its somewhat nebulous plans for the industry, respondents said.
Nearly half of the survey's respondents said Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan face a long road ahead with their partnership, which was announced in 2017. A quarter of respondents said the companies "have no idea what they're getting into." A similar number were more hopeful, saying the partnership might be successful.
In addition to general questions about the healthcare industry outlook, Venrock asked survey participants about healthcare technology.
While the artificial intelligence hype machine continues to chug along, the reality of the technology is murkier. Fewer than a tenth of the respondents said AI companies would see success in 2018, with the majority saying that AI will succeed two or three years from now. About a tenth expected AI to make no difference in healthcare.
"Technologies that sound sexy, like AI, could be important, but they aren't going to be especially impactful in the near term," Kocher said. "Technologies will make a difference but not by themselves. They'll be part of unsexy businesses, like insurance and primary care."
Primary-care company One Medical is the healthcare IT company that most respondents expect to go public next, followed by Health Catalyst.
Health Catalyst focuses on data analytics, the one area of seven the majority of respondents said would see rapid growth in the coming year. Respondents were least enthusiastic about the growth of the electronic health records sector, with just 3% saying it would see rapid growth in the next year.
As healthcare IT developers attempt to build new companies and applications, they'll face problems with talent and hiring, according to respondents, a quarter of whom were very concerned about talent and nearly half of whom were somewhat concerned. Developers and others involved in IT innovation will also face problems stemming from economic uncertainty and regulatory changes.
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