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Nick van Terheyden, M.D., chief medical officer of Dell Healthcare Services, has some interesting observations in a piece headlined “Is healthcare transformation the ‘age of wisdom’ or the ‘winter of despair’ for hospitals?”

He writes: “Hospitals that are part of an integrated health system, rather than standalone facilities, will fare better under the new system because they will automatically be part of a team effort. The incentives for integrated health systems are clear: They sell insurance, and the healthier their members, the lower their costs will be. That clarity of incentives will help integrated systems move swiftly toward value-based care, and having all members of the care team under one umbrella will help ensure better coordination of care and less duplication and waste. We’ve seen this trend growing over the past few years, with health systems buying hospitals and physician practices.”

He also noted:

“One of the biggest challenges hospitals will face in the next couple of years will be data integration. All those mergers and acquisitions in healthcare have turned many organizations into the Tower of Babel, where so many data languages are in use that care coordination becomes a nightmare. To standardize and integrate data, some systems have taken the route of converting all of their facilities to one EHR, but that is enormously expensive and very disruptive, and it ultimately doesn’t solve the bigger issue. The EHR is only one source of clinical data, and as analytics are increasingly important, healthcare organizations will need to integrate data from a wide variety of sources beyond the EHR.”

To read his essay, please hit this link.

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