The U.S. healthcare economy is in a state of flux, with a massive transformation towards evaluating and monetizing services based on patient outcomes.
The motivation for this change is clear: as a nation, we aren’t getting much of a return on investment. According to the Peterson Foundation, the average, annual per capita healthcare cost across developed countries is over $3,800, while the cost in the United States has ballooned to over $9,500. Conversely, U.S. healthcare outcomes are ranked mostly below average.
And a major cause for this disparity is a relative lack of focus on preventative, outcome-based care. The good news is that the U.S. medical community is aware and moving in the direction of outcome-based healthcare. As this model is adopted, it will increasingly result in providers competing to deliver the best outcomes. Individual doctors, hospitals, and providers will profit according to how well their patients fare. At the macro level, value-driven services will require analyzing healthcare trends and patterns to discover and standardize outcome improvements across the population.
Particularly for makers of diagnostic devices and equipment, there is increasing pressure to improve end-to-end data acquisition and application. Diagnostic data collection must become more sensitive, accurate, longitudinal, and comprehensive. Collected data must be made available to increasingly powerful analytics and deep learning resources, but it must also be safeguarded—including operational data, patient biometrics, and personally identifying information. Data will require anonymization while being authenticated through security models like blockchain. And data will need to be responsibly shared across an ecosystem of healthcare networks.
This orchestration of data enables performance outcome to be measured, modified, and measured again—creating a closed loop improvement process. It will also identify and new ways for complementary care to be administered. It will also, of course, enable more accurate diagnosis and direct improvements to care.
According to a recent survey conducted by life-sciences research firm Axendia, medical device manufacturers are anticipating this transformation towards data-driven technologies and economies. When asked how the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) would change their business over the next 5 years, 83% responded that it would require participation in more interconnected healthcare networks.
In the same survey, Axendia asked device makers to identify the greatest challenges in bringing smart, connected products to market. The two top answers were: data interoperability with networks and systems of record, and the securing of devices and data. Interoperability across a diverse network ensures data can be fully leveraged to improve performance. Meanwhile, data security also remains a requirement to protect patient information, safeguard intellectual property, and reduce legal exposure.
While the grand design is to improve patient outcomes, there are some more direct benefits that can be had from embracing a data-driven approach. In other manufacturing sectors, product usage data have long been playing a key role in several areas, including:
Real-time performance visibility
Predictive and preventative maintenance
Remote and improved service
Total Product lifecycle improvements
These data-driven initiatives are getting results. According to Axendia, 80% of respondents using IoT connected devices report that they see reducing the cost of poor quality as a key benefit.
Traditionally, the manufacturer bears the expense of researching, designing, manufacturing, and delivering high-value medical device—until the capital equipment costs are assumed at the time of purchase.But the transformation to outcome-based healthcare will require a new type of transaction. Manufacturers will need to retain ownership of their equipment, and embrace a model that is either fee-for-use or subscription based. While this may seem like daunting move for some device makers, there are some important upsides, including:
Better interoperability of data and mitigation of data risks.
Continual refinement of product output (and value).
Manufacturers taking a more valuable, solution-based role.
Much like their patients, healthcare providers are favoring vendors that can deliver continuously improving product outputs and services. This will result in a greater collaboration that will further improve outcomes.
Axendia research conducted a thorough study of manufacturers and users of high tech medical devices. Compiling their findings into an easily digestible eBook, the data is a must read for device makers and healthcare IT professionals looking to negotiate a transition to a usage/outcome-based model and correctly leverage the potential of the IoMT.