Our research team breaks down this week’s top healthcare news.
In an age of unprecedented change, staying current has never been more important. Our team at Chartis is curating news most relevant to the healthcare industry and tracking the topics that are trending on seven key issues: clinical quality and risk, digital and advanced technology, financial sustainability, health disparities, the health ecosystem of the future, partnerships, and the provider enterprise. Each week, we break down what’s happening and why it matters.
Despite significant growth for telehealth visits early in the pandemic, virtual visit numbers now are declining. Though current tele-visit numbers remain significantly higher than pre-pandemic, the percentage of care delivered in-person varies widely across specialties.
At the same time, COVID-19 testing remains problematic in the U.S. as a result of slow processing times, limited free testing, and a lack of coordination among government entities, providers, and laboratories.
The appropriate post-pandemic balance of telehealth to in-person visits is yet to be determined. It will largely depend on patient preferences and reimbursement decisions, and providers will need to be able to scale up or down as appropriate.
Without consistent COVID-19 testing and results processing, the spread of the virus becomes significantly more difficult to track and trace. Advances made in testing technology can help overcome capacity shortages and long wait times for results. There are also labs with capacity to test. However, improving testing and preventing ongoing outbreaks will require a network of public health entities and providers working together
Analysis recently published in Health Affairs shows numerous factors influencing variation in COVID-19 rates, based on data from cities and towns in Massachusetts. Race correlated with higher COVID-19 rates in Black and Latinx communities. Other social factors that were predictors of greater infection rates, particularly in the Latinx population, were larger household size, non-citizenship status and occupation as an essential worker. Washington-based Providence St. Joseph Health pledged $50M over the next five years to reduce racial inequity.
Numerous barriers continue to perpetuate the racial disparities in U.S. COVID-19 cases and their outcomes. Data analyses continue to show that systemic racial inequities are due to both socioeconomic factors and bias in the healthcare system. Health systems in the U.S. should follow the lead of organizations such as Providence St. Joseph Health to define their anti-racism goals, determine how they can better collaborate with public health entities to deliver care in their communities and devote appropriate investment dollars to their stated goals.
Historical barriers between healthcare-related entities are breaking down amid the pandemic, and new collaborations are forming. New models with multiple stakeholders working toward a common goal are developing, such as the Dallas Connected Community of Care, which includes a collective of multiple health systems, clinical providers and community service organizations that address social determinants of health. Data sharing efforts have ramped up to accelerate the pace of learning and coordination. Healthcare providers that are moving into new territories are doing so not only to extend their networks but also to share best practices with and learn from those in their new localities, collectively advancing population health and healthcare.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 confirmed that we are operating in a truly global health economy. Tackling a widespread health crisis cannot be accomplished in silos. Rather, it requires communicating and coordinating with and learning from others locally, regionally and globally — a concept to apply as we design a more effective healthcare ecosystem for the future. New types of partnerships that may not have seemed logical before are being pursued. And a new level of data and information sharing is advancing treatment and care. As a result, population health can be elevated. Effective collaboration is making a greater impact than the sum of individual efforts for aspects of healthcare that go beyond a pandemic.
The Chartis Group and Kythera Labs have brought together a team of data scientists, visualization experts and industry thought leaders to develop the Telehealth Adoption Tracker, an advanced analytic tool designed to measure how COVID-19 has driven rapid telehealth adoption across the country.
As the COVID-19 pandemic endures, health systems across the country head into the second half of 2020 with margin improvement as a top priority.
Since the onset of the pandemic, CIOs have been leading through the crisis to deliver more, faster — with fewer operating, capital and human resources. With an already-full agenda, CIOs are now faced with looming interoperability compliance deadlines, effective November 2.