2024: The year of health IT transformation and evolution in patient care

The New Year shows increasing possibilities for embracing AI and balancing patient-provider dynamics in the new healthcare landscape.

As we navigate into 2024, the healthcare industry stands at a pivotal point of transformation, driven by rapid technological advancements and changing patient expectations. The following is collaboration between FINN Partners, their clients and Health Data Management.  

These thought leaders delve into the emerging trends in healthcare IT, highlighting the critical role of artificial intelligence, EHR systems and patient-centric approaches. They explore how these technological innovations are reshaping revenue cycle management, enhancing patient experiences, and forging a new era in healthcare delivery. Join us in uncovering the dynamic shifts and predictions that are set to redefine the healthcare landscape in 2024.

Rich Amelio, vice president of healthcare information technology, Operations and Consulting, for e4health 

In 2024, health systems and organizations will face a critical juncture as numerous EHRs and other legacy systems are replaced. Ranging from Intermountain Health to Indian Health Services, hundreds of hospitals and health systems are planning a major EHR change in 2024.

These major system changes place tremendous pressure on IT budgets, technology teams, operational departments and end-users. Managing such transformative transition requires meticulous strategy and execution.  

Proactive health system leaders already acknowledge the importance of experienced professionals in navigating the convergence of new technology systems and major IT change events with outside consultants involved in nearly every major system change. In 2024, added focus will be placed on health data integrity, accuracy and potential bias as data converted in 2024 serves as the foundation for future artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotic process automation implementations.  

Larger organizations must have a comprehensive understanding of patient data across multiple systems and entities. Preventing duplicate patient information during EHR changeovers through advanced identification tools and consistent maintenance of records emerges as a key strategy for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. To tackle these complexities, the intersection of IT, change management and health information becomes crucial.  

As a result, 2024 marks a hectic but necessary phase of transition in health IT.

Chaim Linhart, chief technology officer and co-founder of Ibex Medical Analytics  

Accurate diagnosis is one of the key drivers of quality cancer care, but expert pathologists are typically concentrated within large academic centers and cancer-focused institutions. However, the increasing complexity of cancer cases frequently necessitates expert review, creating health disparities for patients diagnosed in community hospitals or high-volume reference labs, where generalist pathologists may lack the expertise, experience and resources found in major healthcare hubs.

The integration of AI into pathology workflows is reshaping this landscape by expanding access to expert insights. New AI-powered solutions utilize machine learning algorithms trained by expert pathologists, incorporating their insights into an automated decision support tool. Leveraging these tools, pathologists can review patient biopsies more rapidly, detect and grade cancer, and develop more precise and comprehensive reports. This enhanced information helps inform treatment decisions while concurrently minimizing the risk of misdiagnosis. 

Serving as the pathologist’s digital assistant, AI is bridging the expertise and resource gap. Irrespective of geographical location or socioeconomic class, AI is helping physicians provide every cancer patient with a diagnosis and subsequent treatment that is on par with the most renowned academic centers, equalizing access to quality care. As labs nationwide incorporate these tools we can expect to see a significant improvement in patient outcomes.

Ray Gensinger, MD, chief medical officer of Tegria 

This year, an increasingly consumer-driven healthcare culture will drive improvements in the patient experience. But the pendulum will not swing away from providers as has happened in the consumerism movements of the past. 

Prioritizing patients over providers, or vice versa, results in an imbalanced relationship in which nobody gets their needs met. To date, the support of these equals has required manual labor and processes that are unsustainable. In 2024, healthcare will finally begin to balance this equation and give both patients and providers what they need to flourish: time.  

We will achieve this by making real gains in data management, clinician efficiency and care team operations to eliminate all the unnecessary administrative burdens, and by equipping patients with all the capabilities to efficiently participate in their own care, effectively schedule at their convenience and minimize the financial tensions that interfere with efficient care. 

In this new, more balanced relationship, we will see gains for patients, providers and the ecosystems supporting that relationship. Patients will get a frictionless experience that includes access (either in-person or virtually) to a focused provider who understands why the patient is there, has the time to listen effectively, and is equipped to execute the next steps in the care journey. 

Providers will get accurately summarized, simplified referrals, appropriate clinical decision support, accelerated clinical documentation capabilities and an employer or health system that supports their physical and mental well-being so that they can be focused, prepared and present for doctor-patient interactions.

Susan Tyler, managing director of healthcare for LogicSource 

As financial pressures on hospital and health system operating margins grow, CFOs are placing a significant emphasis on overall cost reduction in 2024. However, experts from LogicSource anticipate a more nuanced approach, acknowledging that there are opportunities to free up resources from indirect and non-clinical investments to help ease the immediate cash flow pressures and also provide a strategic investment opportunity for clinically differentiating services.  

This next year, we will see health system leadership embrace the integration of outsourced subject matter experts into internal teams to assist with easing these acute financial pressures. This collaborative approach is strategic; it ensures a harmonious blend of internal and external expertise, and it is particularly powerful among supply chain teams.

Brian Urban, director of innovation and emerging markets for FinThrive 

In 2024, the evolving landscape of patient experience continues to draw attention, emphasizing the significance of patient trust as a precious yet elusive asset for healthcare systems and health plans. Looking forward, a positive shift is anticipated, fueled by collaborative efforts among healthcare tech, researchers and community health workers. Their strategic utilization of navigational tools, technology and in-home care is poised to enhance engagement and expedite the reconstruction of patient trust, addressing the challenges faced in acquiring this valuable commodity. 

Turning to the domain of cost and care burden reduction, 2024 holds the promise of transformative changes. From the rapid expansion of the PACE model to heightened transparency in healthcare service pricing and the ongoing evolution toward value-based care, comprehensive strategies come to the forefront. Non-clinical data consumption, provider-payer collaborations and the pivotal role of technology in sustaining the healthcare ecosystem take precedence in this year's predictions, aiming to alleviate the financial and operational burdens associated with healthcare. 

In the pursuit of equity in access to health and care, 2024 emerges as a pivotal year, emphasizing the central role of data in driving transformative initiatives. The critical importance of data in shaping the speed and effectiveness of efforts to improve access to care is underscored. The focus extends beyond individual endeavors, encompassing the entire healthcare ecosystem. As precision public health programs and tech trends take root, data-driven strategies aim to bridge gaps, particularly benefiting the most vulnerable populations across states and federal agencies in the U.S.

Jeff Fallon, CEO of eVideon 

Looking ahead to 2024, I foresee the crucial demand for training to accelerate technology adoption, particularly amidst current staffing challenges and nursing turnover. At this crucial juncture, organizations are encouraged to intensify technology adoption, enabling them to leverage time savings and improve the experience for nurses, staff, patients and caregivers. 

By focusing on client training, it addresses a widespread pain point in healthcare technology adoption identified by KLAS Research. The goal of this commitment to client training is to simplify technology complexities, remove unnecessary burden and equip today’s healthcare professionals with the knowledge and tools required to meet the diverse needs of today’s patient population and deliver the highest quality healthcare for all.

Matt Wildman, chief commercial officer for MRO 

Healthcare organizations will grapple with a substantial surge in medical record requests initiated by payers in 2024. Health systems must respond to these requests in a timely and efficient manner. However, most health systems have duplicate patient data across multiple EHRs making the process a significant administrative and operational challenge.  

Furthermore, since each health plan may require different data points, health systems must prioritize patient information safety above burgeoning workloads. This administrative burden is expected to peak in early 2024 during Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) audit season.  

In response to those mounting pressures, forward-thinking health systems will increasingly deploy technology as a strategic solution to automate the record request and fulfillment process with payers. Health information exchange (HIE) and other digitized clinical data exchange tactics will help organizations manage the increase in payer requests volumes while enhancing staff efficiency, accuracy, and productivity amid ongoing healthcare workforce shortages and operating margin concerns.  

Secondary benefits of automating clinical data exchange between providers and payers in 2024 include the ability to maintain patient information privacy, security, and compliance. Operational costs in health information and other administrative departments are stabilized, data quality improves, and the seasonality of Risk Adjustment and HEDIS requests becomes easier to manage. 

Payers will also benefit from this course of action as they acquire more accurate patient data needed to build consolidated member profiles across hundreds of EHRs and health systems. This is especially true for regional health plans.  

Streamlining health plans’ internal processes through clinical data exchange with providers delivers end-to-end support for data acquisition and long-term storage. Moreover, it helps payer organizations avoid costs associated with EHR data aggregation from multiple sources, contributing to overall efficiency and effectiveness throughout the healthcare ecosystem in 2024. 

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