The use of information technology for population health management is expected to grow consistently over the next five years, with the amount that provider organizations invest in the technology doubling between 2016 and 2021.

Signify Research’s study of the market in North America predicts that the number of lives that will be managed by population health management solutions on the continent will rise to 245 million in 2021, up more than 80 percent from 135 million lives in 2016.

Growth in the use of population health management applications will be driven by legislative efforts in the United States and “attempts to modernize healthcare provision,” says Signify Research’s report.

“Although the Trump administration is still attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, creating some uncertainty, it has been assumed that the underlying factors driving PHM growth, such as the move to value-based care, will persist,” the report’s writers contend.

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“With most of the dialogue around change to Obamacare and the Republican alternatives being focused on insurance reform, not care delivery reform, we expect the rollout of accountable care organizations and shared savings schemes to continue. PHM solutions will be a core tool in their implementation.”

Providers spent about $3.6 billion on PHM tools in 2016, and that investment is expected to reach nearly $8 billion by 2021, the research and consulting firm predicts. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 16.6 percent.

Implementation of PHM solutions will grow because more organizations will put them into place, Signify Research predicts, including providers/ACOs, payers, government organizations and employers as likely customers.

“In some cases, this will lead to individual lives being managed by more than one entity,” the report contends. “The provider/ACO vertical is projected to represent the largest market in terms of both managed lives and platform revenues, with the acute care sector driving the lion’s share of the provider market.”

Signify Research’s data indicates that electronic health records vendors controlled 55 percent of the North American PHM market. “The remainder was taken by a broad portfolio healthcare tech/IT vendors (such as IBM Watson Health and Philips) and best-of-breed vendors (such as Orion Health, Health Catalyst and Evolent.)

“EHR vendors are well positioned to leverage their existing installed base of customers in order to gain share as the PHM market grows,” the report predicts. “They are banking on PHM driving a large proportion of future company growth as the EHR market matures. However, historically their PHM solutions have fallen short in terms of functionality and performance compared to the best-of-breed specialists. Through acquisition and product development the gap has started to close to some extent.”

Information on the report can be found here.

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