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Physicians Lack IT Tools Needed For Value-Based Care

Posted on July 23, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

A new study sponsored by Quest Diagnostics has concluded that progress toward value-based care has slowed because physicians lack the IT tools they need.  In fact, the survey of health plan executives and physicians found that both groups see the progress of VBC as backsliding, with 67% reporting that the U.S. still has a fee-for-service system in place.

The study, which was conducted by Regina Corso Consulting, took place between April 26 and May 7 of 2018, included 451 respondents, 300 which for primary care physicians in private practice. The other 151 were health plan executives holding director-level positions.

More than half (57%) of health plan respondents said that a lack of tools is preventing doctors from moving ahead with VBC, compared with 45% last year. Also, 72% of physicians and health plan leaders said that doctors don’t have all the information they need about their patients to proceed with VBC.

A minority of doctors (39%) reported that EHRs provide all the data they need to care for the patients, though 86% said they could provide better care for patients if their EHR was interoperable with other technologies. Eighty-eight percent of physicians and health plan execs said that such data can provide insights that prescribing and claims data typically can’t.

All of the survey respondents agreed that making do with existing health IT tools is better than spending more. Fifty-three percent said that optimizing existing health information technology made sense, compared with 25% recommending investing in some new information technology and just 11% suggesting that large information technology infrastructure investments were a good idea.

Survey respondents said that a lack of interoperability between health IT systems with the biggest barrier to investing in new technology, followed by the perception that it would create more work while producing little or no benefit.

On the other hand, respondents named several technologies which could help speed VBC adoption. They include bioinformatics (73%), AI (68%), SMART app platform (65%), FHIR (64%), machine learning (64%), augmented reality (51%) and blockchain (47%). In its commentary, the report noted that SMART app platform use and FHIR might offer near-term benefits, as they allow companies to plug new technologies into existing platforms.

Bottom line, new ideas and technologies can make a difference. Eighty-nine percent off health plan execs and physicians said that healthcare organizations need to be more innovative and integrate more options and tools that support patient care.

A glimpse of the future: advanced computing meets healthcare

Posted on May 6, 2011 I Written By

Katherine Rourke is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

While existing EMR systems can perform tasks which would have boggled the minds of our grandparents, there’s always the next step, the breakthrough which transforms how we understand a technology.  At a recent Bio-IT World meeting, attendees got a look at some of those possibilities, reports Children’s Hospital Boston blog Vector.

One promising approach comes from, which connects patients with similar diagnoses to share ideas and improve management of their conditions.  According to blogger Keeley Wray, the site’s graphical tools go far beyond most Web information sharing, allowing patients to visualize data trends for both their own condition and other similar diagnoses. also documents medication side effects, sometimes differently (more accurately?) than pharmaceutical companies.

Another technology Wray describes, knowledge engine Wolfram|Alpha, can be loaded with high volumes of data, including self-reported patient data.  The engine’s creator believes that tools like this will soon be used to “model a patient’s disease, anticipate adverse events or suggest personalized treatment options,” Wray reports.  Eventually, patients will eventually begin to load data directly into such engines from wearable, automated sensors, making crowdsourced medical data banks a realistic and scalable option, argues knowledge engine creator Stephen Wolfram.

These approaches are just a tiny sample of what’s going on today in bioinformatics, of course. But these patient-centered, treatment-oriented examples seem particularly relevant when you think about what an EMR can and should be.  Imagine EMRs being transformed from isolated vessels of information to nodes in a global, exponentially-expanding knowledge network that benefits both patients and clinicians directly! Folks, it’s just beautiful.