To this end, as Healthcare Informatics Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland wrote recently, regarding the Health Affairs estimation that U.S. healthcare spending will rise from $3.3013 trillion in 2014 to $5.631 trillion in 2025, “that figure meets the day-to-day working reality of CIOs, CMIOs, and other healthcare IT leaders, in medical groups, hospitals, and health systems. Because, in order to bend that five-and-a-half-trillion-dollars-plus annual expenditures curve even a little bit, will require a massive investment in, and successful implementation of, excellent health information technology. What’s more, it will require the extreme optimization of healthcare delivery and administration processes, using those IT tools, solutions, and systems. U.S. healthcare can simply no longer afford to be a trillions-of-dollars-a-year ‘mom and pop shop’-type cottage industry.”
Indeed, despite healthcare’s size and growth rate, the sector was long considered an impenetrable, or at least an unattractive, target for IT innovation—but that mindset has shifted. Technology giants such as IBM and Microsoft are more often partnering with providers to improve the healthcare delivery process, while attempting to also bend the cost curve. But, these kinds of partnerships are mostly still in infancy stages.
According to Munzoor Shaikh, a Chicago-based director in West Monroe Partners’ healthcare practice, there are multiple buckets of IT innovation in healthcare, though most providers are still in the very early stages of partaking in them—if they are at all. Shaikh, who has more than 15 years of experience in management and technology consulting, with a primary focus on managed care, health insurance, population health, and wellness, spoke to Healthcare Informatics Managing Editor Rajiv Leventhal about these innovation areas, the sector’s biggest challenges when it comes to technology advancements, and what the future has in store. Below are excerpts of that discussion.
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