Imagine a future in which clinicians, care teams, patients, and caregivers have convenient, secure access to comprehensive health information (health records, claims, cost, and data from medical devices) and treatment protocols that consider expenses and social influencers of health unique to the patient. Technology can aid in preventing disease, identifying the need to adjust medications, and delivering interventions. Continuous monitoring can lead health care organizations to personalized therapies that address unmet medical needs sooner. And the “time to failure” can become shorter as R&D advancements, such as a continual real-world evidence feedback loop, will make it easier to identify what therapies will work more quickly in which patients. Instead of seeking care when sick, the focus can be on cost-effective prevention and keeping people healthy longer. Payment obligations, including copays and other cost sharing, can be calculated prospectively. Consumers filling out the same information in 10 different forms should be a distant memory.
Picking up speed to become a reality for the future of health
One fundamental enabler of this vision is radically interoperable data. The future of health envisions timely and relevant health and other data flowing between consumers, today’s health care incumbents, and new entrants. This requires the cooperation of the entire industry, including hospitals, physicians, health plans, technology companies, medical device companies, pharma companies, and consumers. When will the industry start accelerating from today’s silos to this future? Our research suggests that despite a long journey ahead, radical interoperability is picking up speed and moving from aspiration to reality.
In spring 2019, the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions surveyed 100 technology executives at health systems, health plans, biopharma companies, and medtech companies and interviewed another 21 experts to understand the state of interoperability today.
Here’s what the executives say about the drivers of interoperability and which areas of health care will likely benefit most from it:
- The biggest drivers in the industry for broader interoperability include value-based care (51 percent) and regulations (47 percent), according to survey respondents. Interviewees also pointed to consumer demand as a driver.
- Cost of care (44 percent), consumer experience (38 percent), and care coordination and patient outcomes (36 percent) will benefit the most from broader industry interoperability in the next three years, according to survey respondents.
Executives also say that technology capabilities in health care are accelerating rapidly; the building blocks for interoperability are nearly in place. These include resources (people) and roles with expertise in interoperability, the use of application programming interfaces (APIs), and adoption of cloud:
- Nearly 80 percent have hired data architects to define their interoperability strategies.
- Seventy-three percent have a dedicated and centralized team that oversees interoperability.
- Fifty-seven percent have established an architecture strategy for interoperability across business functions.
- Fifty-three percent are building their own APIs—either on their own or in partnership with vendors.
- Sixty percent host more than half of their applications on the cloud.
Despite agreeing that interoperability is beneficial and that the technology building blocks are available, our research findings also indicate that the business case—clear measures of ROI, business incentives—to invest in interoperability needs to catch up. More surveyed executives say interoperability will be extremely important to their organization in 3–5 years (48 percent) compared with today (34 percent). Interviewees acknowledged that it is a long journey to reach systemwide interoperability and many challenges do exist, but they believe that it will be a linchpin in the future of health.
Health care stakeholders that want to emerge as a leader in their use of data and analytics in the future of health should:
- Prioritize interoperability at the leadership level by developing a clear understanding of how important interoperability is to the organization’s overall strategy, what it will enable for the business, as well as a vision for interoperability in the future.
- Boldly invest strategically rather than tactically, by seizing the opportunity to focus on next-generation solutions and ensuring that all key business strategies (population health, M&A, value-based contracts or pricing strategies, real-world evidence, precision medicine) align with the organization’s interoperability strategy and future vision.
- Establish a competency center that is responsible for the organization’s interoperability technology stack, data and interface standards, and leading architectural practices and patterns to drive adoption, increase competencies, and accelerate value.
- Focus on interoperability in current and future partnerships. Be active, open, and curious, as there might be opportunities to collaborate differently with traditional competitors, regulators, large technology companies and startups, and community and nonprofit organizations than has been possible in the past.
- Leverage the coming compliance, privacy, and security regulations as a key catalyst to drive enterprise momentum. Organizations that seek to leapfrog their interoperability capability can use these opportunities strategically to create momentum, visibility, and competency within their organization.
Download the full report to explore radical interoperability’s essential role in the future of health.
Innovation starts with insight and seeing challenges in a new way. Amid unprecedented uncertainty and change across the health care industry, stakeholders are looking for new ways to transform the journey of care. Our US Health Care practice helps clients transform uncertainty into possibility and rapid change into lasting progress. Comprehensive audit, advisory, consulting, and tax capabilities can deliver value at every step, from insight to strategy to action. Our people know how to anticipate, collaborate, innovate, and create opportunity from even the unforeseen obstacle.
Learn more at www.deloitte.com/future.