Diagnostic labs will become critical profit centers for health systems, affiliated hospitals and commercial labs.
During the pandemic, labs have demonstrated their key importance to the entire healthcare enterprise, and will continue to do so in a very specific way, according to Oleg Bess, MD, cofounder and CEO of 4medica.
“Specifically, labs increasingly will focus on realizing the value of the clinical data they generate and hold. The data will be increasingly turned from its muddy state today into gold by following three strategic steps: (1) make it accessible, (2) uniquely identify patients, and (3) create data cooperatives with other labs to derive greater value,” he says. “This quality dataset will improve operational efficiency to boost their financial performance and revenue cycle. It will also generate new revenue when the quality data is utilized by payers, pharmaceuticals, device manufacturers and other healthcare stakeholders. Most importantly, this golden quality dataset will enable patient engagement to a degree that has never been seen before, generating both patient goodwill and additional commercial opportunities for labs.”
The pandemic demonstrated individuals’ interest and engagement in healthcare, defining their role in accelerating healthcare’s digital transformation. Patients are now recognized as the ultimate guardians of their data, capable of making decisions of who can have access when. In the coming year, patient identity management will become a requirement to successfully aggregate all documents in a single patient record for the patient to administer.
Providers and payers rely heavily on data such as patient medical histories and social determinants of health (SDoH) to make decisions about clinical courses of action. Lab results also are a key source of data for clinical and payer decision-makers, which is why it is imperative that lab data is high quality. Indeed, for labs, better data quality equals more valuable data for themselves and other healthcare stakeholders (including patients). Quality data is nothing less than the fuel that powers value-based care and improves patient outcomes.
Telehealth, telehealth and more telehealth. That’s what we will see even more of in 2022 as virtual care becomes normalized and entrenched in the healthcare system for patients and a wide range of providers, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists and mental health professionals. The new year will see and increased emphasis on health data quality, which is essential to operational efficiency and quality care, cornerstones of value-based care. Providers and payers will turn to automation and artificial intelligence to streamline operations and reduce costly inefficiencies such as duplicate patient records.
Patients are now recognized as the ultimate guardians of their health data, capable of making informed decisions about who can have real-time access to their data and when they can have it,” he said. “In the coming year, improving health data quality issues, including patient identity management, will become a requirement to accurately match and aggregate all documents in a single patient record for the patient to administer and become further engaged in their healthcare journey.
Health data quality will become an increasingly important priority for payers in 2022. Health plans and ACOs will strive to improve digital data quality by eliminating patient data record duplications, which lead to denied claims, billing errors and delays in prior-authorizations and final reimbursement. This will require an investment in health data management systems that are intelligent and automated, and that enhance data exchange with provider organizations. Payers also will be more reliant on data analytics and how they can be applied to SDOHdata to reduce healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.