5 Hot Topics from MGMA18 Annual Conference

By Rick Halton, VP Product & Marketing, Lumeon

Earlier this month the Lumeon team attended the Medical Group Management Association’s annual conference in Boston. The event brought together over 3,000 attendees to discuss and gain insight into evolving healthcare issues, a plethora of regulatory and compliance mandates, and best practices across different care models. Amidst a number of educational sessions, workshops and networking breaks, here are the 5 most discussed topics during the days of the conference:

Care setting fragmentation

Care setting fragmentation is an ongoing issue majorly impacting quality, cost, and medical outcomes. Patients regularly encounter fragmented systems of care. From a patient perspective, this lack of coordination and the misalignment of incentives often lead to unmet social needs, conflicting medications, incorrect dosages and more. To deal with the ineffectiveness of this issue health organizations are focusing their efforts on discovering how to create a coherent patient experience as patients pass through several care settings. Care coordination systems are becoming increasingly popular among health systems that want to ensure they deliver holistic, quality care.

Going beyond the EHR

Fragmentation in care is a result of many different factors – one of which can be the outdated or limited use of electronic records. Over the last years, healthcare providers have been squarely focused on implementing EHR systems and training clinicians. With this industry-wide implementation complete and as we begun to talk more about making EHRs user-friendly and smart,  we now need to move past that to find ways to pursue intelligent data exchange and interoperability. As the need for interoperability is growing, the need to go beyond EHRs to truly integrated systems is becoming more and more obvious.

Patient Experience & Communications

The growing healthcare-consumerism connection has highlighted the need for optimized patient communications. Millennials are now the largest living generation and health systems are adapting to their communication needs and preferences. Not only providers are commercializing their websites and investing in smartphones, but they are also limiting their patient contact. Similar to an on-demand service, they avoid interacting with patients any more than the patients need to. Expecting the same level of personalization and service they receive as consumers, patients are now making healthcare choices based on their digital experience.

Patient Engagement

Patient engagement was also a hot topic at the recent MGMA conference – healthcare influencer, Colin Hung, and I had a very interesting conversation around it. Exhibitors were promoting patient engagement tools and educational sessions offered suggestions for engaging patients. More than just optimized websites and patient portals, patient engagement is essential for achieving what the Institute for Healthcare Improvement calls the “triple aim” of health care: improving the patient experience, advancing population health and reducing costs. Patient engagement most importantly leads to a better patient experience. Engaged patients maintain a stronger attachment to their care teams, and experience greater value in their care. This leads to patient empowerment, greater satisfaction, and an overall improved experience.

Patient-centric Care

Patient-centered care has highlighted the importance of establishing a partnership among practitioners, patients, and caregivers in order to support and empower patients to participate in their own care. According to critics, this noble idea was never successfully implemented, and hence the focus has now shifted to patient-centric care. Patient-centric care differs from patient-centered in that the information and interactions emanate from the patient. Medicine is personalized and it incorporates filtered relevant Big Data with patient-specific mined data from EHR and patient portal including genomic data. And while this sounds far into the future the technology is here – it just needs to be synthesized technologically and culturally in mainstream practice.

As technology is becoming more and more advanced, healthcare is moving past understanding and implementing EHRs to find ways to integrate systems, share data and nurture interoperability. Patient communications are becoming tailored, treating patients as consumers.  Patient experience is now personalized with all information and interactions initiated by the patient – the core of patient-centric care. Post-acute care and pre-operative readiness were also big topics – to learn more about them we are attending the ERAS Annual Congress in November. Next stop… New Orleans.