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Consolidation, consumerism and telehealth are the top three industry trends for 2019

Lisa Chamoff , Contributing Reporter
Industry consolidation is the most important healthcare trend for 2019, according to a recent survey by data, intelligence and analytics firm Definitive Healthcare.

The company surveyed more than 1,000 healthcare providers, and leaders in the life sciences, biotech, health IT, consulting and financial services industries on the trends that are impacting the industry.

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The survey found that more than a quarter of respondents thought mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare space was the biggest issue to watch. Definitive Healthcare noted that it tracked 803 mergers and acquisitions and 858 affiliation and partnership announcements in 2018.

Jason Krantz, Definitive Healthcare’s chief executive officer, said that consolidation acutely impacts how decisions are made, and that OEMs should take note.

“As these IDNs get bigger and bigger, in a lot of cases they’re changing who has the influence,” Krantz told HCB News. “A lot of those decisions are being made at the IDN level, not the physician level.”

Healthcare providers are also dealing with the shift from inpatient to outpatient care, which impacts decision making, Krantz said.

“There is a lot of purchasing of post-acute environment — skilled nursing facilities and physician groups — not hospitals. The IDNs and the hospital systems need to keep people in network. … More insurance companies are saying, ‘I will pay you to treat this patient to get well instead of every time they come into the facility.’ ”

Krantz said that based on the survey results, it was important that those in the medical device industry make sure to keep up to date on mergers and understand how healthcare organizations make decisions.

“Understanding what these organizations look like, who do they own, what are their affiliations and what is the extent of their reach,” Kratz said. “You can’t go in without that knowledge to promote your product or service.”

Consumerism was the second most important trend for 2019, referencing the patients who are seeking “lower costs and convenience” from their providers, according to the survey.

Telehealth was ranked third, with Definitive noting that its 2017 Inpatient Telemedicine Study found that more than 70 percent of consumers would rather use video than visit their primary care provider in person.

“Our moms and dads might not want to do telehealth, but millennials certainly do,” Krantz said.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, staffing shortages, cybersecurity and EHR optimization, and ancillary technologies and wearables followed as important trends to monitor.

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