New York, March 2, 2012 – Clinical informatics may hold the key to better population health and a reduction of the healthcare costs in the United States if health organizations can use it to engage patients in managing their own health. A new PwC US Health Research Institute (HRI) report published today suggests that health organizations view clinical informatics – the integration of information technology into healthcare – as paramount to their financial success and ability to effectively and affordably manage patient care and wellness.
While improved patient care and safety is a top goal of their clinical informatics efforts, few health organizations have found ways of using health information to engage patients in managing their own health. A recent PwC HRI survey of more than 600 health management professionals across the country found:
The HRI report, titled Needles in a haystack, Seeking knowledge with clinical informatics, looks at the state of clinical informatics in the industry and the needs, goals, barriers and opportunities that health organizations face in expanding their informatics capabilities. To inform its findings, PwC US surveyed health management professionals, including those from hospitals and physician groups, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and life sciences companies, and conducted in-depth interviews with 30 chief information officers, chief medical informatics officers, and clinical leaders at health organizations across the country.
PwC found that all of the organizations it studied are now focused on clinical informatics capabilities, a nascent, fast-growing field that combines technology, patient care, financial reporting and collaborative information-sharing. While organizations have different needs, expectations for their informatics programs, the one common informatics goal PwC found they all share is a better understanding of medication compliance. Billions of dollars a year in wasteful healthcare spending can be attributed to excess hospitalizations, premature deaths and other avoidable expenditures caused by patients who do not take medications as prescribed. PwC’s survey found:
“Health organizations recognize the value of effective informatics and analytics, but they are struggling to institutionalize the insight, make it actionable and use it for competitive advantage,” said Daniel Garrett, Health Information Technology practice leader, PwC. “They need strategies for mining data, conducting and integrating evidence-based research, translating findings into practice, and influencing patients to participate in the process.”
The state of clinical informatics in the health industry
PwC reports that clinical informatics is likely to become even more important in healthcare as the reimbursement landscape shifts from a fee-for-service or volume-based model to an outcomes-based model. Comparative effectiveness research has made it incumbent upon providers, drug makers and medical device manufacturers to understand and demonstrate how different treatments, tests, or procedures work compared to others.
PwC’s research found:
Health industry converges around clinical informatics
The nature of the once adversarial relationship among payers, providers and pharmaceutical / life sciences companies is becoming more collaborative in an outcomes-based reimbursement environment as health organizations discover they need each other and access to one another’s information and capabilities.
Clinical informatics is spurring an increase in collaborative agreements, partnerships and deal activity among health organizations, suppliers, private equity firms and other market participants.
PwC’s research found barriers that may slow collaboration and progress in the use of clinical informatics.
A copy of PwC’s clinical informatics report is available for download at www.pwc.com/us/hitinformatics.
About PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI)
PwC's Health Research Institute provides new intelligence, perspectives, and analysis on trends affecting all health-related industries. The Health Research Institute helps executive decision makers navigate change through primary research and collaborative exchange. Our views are shaped by a network of professionals with executive and day-to-day experience in the health industry. HRI research is not sponsored by businesses, government, or other institutions.
About PwC’s Health Industries Group
PwC’s Health Industries Group (www.pwc.com/us/healthindustries) is a leading advisor to public and private organizations across the health industries, including healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, health and life sciences, payers, employers, academic institutions and non-health organizations with significant presence in the health market. Follow PwC Health Industries at http://twitter.com/PwCHealth.
About the PwC Network
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