Hospital Execs: ACA, Population Health Will Be Game Changers in Next 3 Years

July 8, 2016 Heather Bates

This article originally appeared at http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/healthcare/hospital-execs-aca-population-health-will-be-game-changers-next-three-years on April 15, 2016.

C-suite leaders predict in the next three years that high-value post-acute care networks and innovative approaches to care delivery will be their most important areas of focus, according to Premier Inc.'s spring Economic Outlook.

Those areas of focus will be so important, say the healthcare C-suite executives who responded to Premier's survey, because of the impact the Affordable Care Act and population health management will have on care delivery.

About 95 percent of the 82 respondents, who consist mostly of CEOs, chief financial officers and chief operating officers, said expanding high-value post-acute care networks is crucial to population health efforts. In addition, 94 percent said such networks are one of their greatest challenges.

Respondents also cited the importance of being able to integrate data across systems. Sixty-eight percent said they could access ambulatory data from physician networks, but only 38 percent could get data from affiliated or non-employed physician networks

"Many affiliated practices lack the proper incentives to invest in high-cost data sharing agreements and interoperable interfaces," Michael J. Alkire, chief operating officer at Premier, said in an announcement. "We urgently need public policies that require health IT interoperability standards so that providers can access data from any system."

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • 84 percent see health IT as the area that will have the most capital investments
  • 66 percent said they see their organization owning or operating its own retail pharmacy in the next three years
  • 89 percent said mergers and acquisitions will be a major challenge due to differences in culture and operations between organizations
  • 98 percent of rural executives cite drug shortages as a major concern

Premier's fall 2015 outlook also showed a focus by hospitals on population health management, with 60 percent of execs responding that they planned to increase their 2016 budgets for population health/new payment initiatives. And among those who said they would spend more money, 39 percent said the increase would be 10 percent or more.

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