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Is Your Healthcare Organization Ready for the Outcome Economy?

23 Feb 2016 by Shay Moser

Intelligent healthcare products and services make patient-centered, family-centered care a reality in the new “outcome economy.”

According to TechTarget, the “outcome economy is an economy contingent on the marketing, pricing and selling of goods and services based on the results or outcomes they produce for customers, rather than on an item or service's face value. The trend toward an outcome-based economy is in large part enabled by digital technologies, including hardware sensors, cloud-based analytics and ubiquitous bandwidth.”

The outcome economy today

Gartner forecasts 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30% from 2015, and in 2016 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.

In the enterprise, Gartner considers two classes of connected things. The first class consists of generic or cross-industry devices that are used in multiple industries, and vertical-specific devices that are found in particular industries.

Cross-industry devices include connected light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost saving. The second class includes vertical-specific devices, such as specialized equipment used in hospital operating theatres, tracking devices in container ships and many others.

“The software development landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade,” says Bob Familiar, director of services at BlueMetal, an Insight company. “Disruptive technologies and design approaches have introduced entirely new types of applications and methods for building them. There is also a deep desire to move away from ‘Big Bang’ releases of software products that take many years to design and build, and instead move to a cloud-hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model where the version of software you are using is always the latest and greatest.”

The outcome economy tomorrow

The goal is to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and deliver more personalized care. To get there, healthcare providers must implement technology in a more automated, systematic way.

Familiar says healthcare IT leaders need to rethink how they are designing and implementing their solutions in order to create a better fit for this new world of continuous delivery, which will triple by 2020 from 2016.

Gartner forecasts 20.8 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. “Connected things for specialized use are currently the largest category, however, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices. By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise," says Jim Tully, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Prepping for the outcome economy

“A combination of cloud platforms and microservice architecture is needed to create a new type of healthcare,” Familiar explains. “It’s the key to achieving continuous delivery and providing SaaS.” 

For example, a BlueMetal healthcare client is using Microsoft Azure to predict patient length of stay. Another client, a major healthcare system, is using responsive Web analytics to access key drivers of healthcare expenses.

“Predictive analysis from learned models helps anticipate demand, finding hidden correlations and improving operational efficiency,” says Familiar. “The projected operational efficiency capture is more than $1 million per hour.”