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Archive for the ‘HealthVault’ Category

This morning we announced the release of our latest report: 2012 HIE Market Report: Analysis and Trends of the Health information Exchange Market. As we found in last year’s report, the HIE Market and the vendors that serve it continues to be a very dynamic.

In little over a year we have seen several vendors exit the market, several others enter and the acquisitions of Carefx by Harris and MobileMD by Siemens. We also saw Microsoft pull completely out of the clinical market by turning over all its HIT assets (except HealthVault) to the new joint venture with GE, Caradigm.

Yet in spite of all this turmoil, the market continues to see spectacular growth in excess of 40% in 2011. The big news with all this growth is that only a small portion of it is coming via the HITECH Act and the various statewide HIE contracts that were awarded. No, the big market that literally all HIE vendors are now targeting is the private, “enterprise” market. Healthcare organizations (HCO) of all sizes are now looking to deploy HIE technology to not only meet Meaningful Use requirements, but respond to the pending changes in reimbursement, moving from a fee for service model to one that is based on outcomes.

To be successful under these new payment models, HCOs must better manage operations and the complete care cycle of a patient across care settings. In a community of heterogeneous EHRs, HCOs are adopting HIE technology at an accelerated rate to unlock the data silos of EHRs across the community to enable higher quality of care.

Arguably, the 2012 HIE Market Report’s most significant finding is…

The healthcare sector is rapidly moving to the post-EHR era. The value of patient data is not in the data silos of EHRs but in the network that an HIE supports.

The report provides the most comprehensive overview of the market and what are the significant trends that are driving this market forward. The report also provides a deep dive review of 22 leading HIE vendors, including product capability assessment and market presence. This information, compiled through in-depth research and countless interviews, provides all HIE stakeholders with the most accurate view of the market today.

It is our sincere hope that the information contained in this report will contribute to furthering the success of HIE deployments in the future as we strongly believe that only through health information exchange (the verb) can we improve the quality of health delivered within a community and ultimately, the nation.

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Let you in on a little secret. February happens to be the month in which I was born. So to celebrate, I’m giving you dear readers a birthday gift. For the month of February you can get a free copy of the full report: iPHR Market Report Analysis & Trends. Be forewarned that this report is dated (yes, it does have a profile of Google Health), having been published in May 2008, but trust you’ll still find some worthy tidbits contained therein.

Happy reading!

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Since its start in 2007, Chilmark Research has kept a fairly low profile as analyst firms go, focusing on a few discrete domains of healthcare IT (HIT). First there was patient and consumer engagement that led to the publication of our first report on Personal Health Records (PHRs). That first research effort led to a significant amount of consulting work and subsequently no reports published for broader market consumption until 2010. That year Chilmark research expanded into the mHealth domain, with the assistance of analyst Cora Sharma, and published the report: mHealth in the Enterprise.

In early 2011, Chilmark published what is arguably its most important, or certainly most popular body of research, a report on the Health Information Exchange (HIE) market. It was this report that clearly cemented Chilmark Research as a well-respected analyst firm providing unbiased, objective, and in-depth research on the domains it covers.

But there was a problem. By and large the vast majority of this work was done by one individual, myself, the founder of Chilmark Research. Over the course of 2011, particularly during the fall when a significant number of consulting assignments came in the door, I quickly came to the realization that I needed help. I was reaching burnout and the model needed to change.

What’s New:
In 2012, Chilmark Research is launching a subscription service called the Chilmark Advisory Service (CAS). This service will provide subscribers one of our annual market research reports (an updated HIE report is forthcoming, others in the works), a number of other content deliverables and direct access to Chilmark Research analysts for specific inquiries. More will be forthcoming regarding this service but encourage you to contact us directly (info @ chilmarkresearch dot com) if you wish to learn more immediately or schedule a meeting at HIMSS to discuss this service further.

Our research agenda for 2012 will look quite similar to our past work for we strongly believe these are the most important topics in healthcare IT today:

Patient & Consumer Engagement
Why it’s important: As the industry migrates to reimbursement models based on outcomes and providers take on more risk, it will become increasingly important to truly engage the patient and their loved ones as part of the care team. Also, in highly competitive markets, providers will be seeking new approaches to not only engage consumers, but build loyalty.

What we’ll be covering: Patient/consumer engagement and outreach strategies of both providers and payers including patient portals (Stage 2 meaningful use requirements are key market driver), telehealth, privacy & security (including consent management) and new models of care & outreach to not only improve consumer/patient satisfaction but improve outcomes.

mHealth
Why it’s important: No doubt about it, the growing ubiquity of smartphones and how they have become such an integral part of our lives (we store family pictures there, we record our expense reports on them, we answer emails, etc.) and an ever growing number of consumers are doing mobile searches to answer health-related questions. Couple this with near saturation of physician adoption of smartphones and the growing use of touchscreen tablets by providers, it is not too hard to imagine a future where mHealth becomes the touch-stone for provider-patient engagement.

What we’ll be covering: Primarily address consumer-centric and clinician-centric mHealth Apps, how the market is developing, what is being adopted and used and why, and lastly, what is the trajectory for this rapidly evolving, ever changing market.  Currently, we are in the midst of producing a report (ready by HIMSS’12) that takes a close look at mHealth Apps for provider-patient engagement.

Health Information Exchange
Why it’s important: The HIEs being put in place today are the fundamental infrastructure, “the pipes,” that will enable one, be it clinician or consumer, to create a true longitudinal, patient record which will lead to safer, more effective care (at least basic logic points to such). These pipes will also allow researchers, public health officials and others to perform advanced analytics on this clinical data that can lead to better, more effective and responsive care. Lastly, as we move to new outcomes-based reimbursement models, HIEs will become an absolute necessity for virtually all medium to large size healthcare organizations.

What we’ll be covering: As mentioned above, last year’s HIE Market Report put Chilmark Research firmly on the map as a firm providing unmatched coverage of this market. We have every intention of keeping that title. First off, we will be releasing an update of the HIE Market Report (target HIMSS’12 release date) with in-depth profiles of some 25 vendors. Second, we are launching a major research project in early February on end users’ experiences and future strategies for their HIE deployments. We have much more planned for this market, but that is a very good start!

How We’ll Do It:
As mentioned previously, I had some help, but not enough and certainly not enough to launch a major expansion of Chilmark Research. To address this issue I went out and found some incredibly bright young people (always believed in the adage, surround yourself with people smarter than you) to join Chilmark Research. They are:

The returning Cora Sharma who’s research use to be the mHealth domain but has now moved to Patient & Consumer Engagement Strategies & Tools.

The former Washingtonian who has returned to his New England roots, Naveen Rao. Naveen’s research focus will be HIE & analytics/BI domains.

And last but certainly not least, my son, John Moore III who in addition to leading an mHealth start-up of his own, will be focusing his research efforts at Chilmark on, you guessed it – mHealth.

Brief bios on these three stellar additions to the Chilmark Research team are over in the “About” section of this website.

I do not hire readily (learned my lessons there long ago) and have been very judicious in choosing only those who show significant promise. I have no doubt in my mind that with some mentoring, these three have the chops to become some of the finest analysts in the industry and the credibility that Chilmark has established in the market will continue to grow.

Speaking on behalf of the Chilmark Research team, we look forward to continuing to provide this vitally important industry that impacts us all with the critical research that is needed to help guide it forward in the successful adoption and use of IT to truly improve healthcare delivery. Each of us are very passionate about this issue, it is a mission for us and through our research we intend to make a positive impact.

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It is almost becoming the norm to say that it has been another tumultuous year in the healthcare IT market. Market consolidation, pushback on timelines, growing chorus from IT departments that enough is enough against the backdrop of the political circus in Washington and across the land as we prepare for the 2012 election year. If 2011, was a bit bumpy, believe we will see craters in the road to HIT enlightenment in 2012. But we’ll save that discussion for our future predictions for 2012 post, which we hope to get to next week. (Editor’s Note: Don’t hold your breath though, if the snow flakes are flying, we’ll be on the slopes next week.)

Today’s post takes a look back on 2011 by reviewing our predictions earlier in the year and assessing where we hit the mark, where we missed and if there is such a thing, where we came close. So without further adieu…

1. MU Initiatives Move to Tactical 
Hit This did come true as meaningful use, while still top of mind for the CIO, is not top of mind for others in the executive suite who are now looking at how to compete in the future as reimbursement models shift from fee-for-service to value-based contracts.

2. C-Suite Strategy Focuses on New Payment Models 
Hit An admittedly “softball” prediction, this was a natural fall-out of prediction numero uno. And yes, the consultants are making out like bandits as we predicted they would helping senior execs figure out their future competitive strategy.

3. RCM & Charge Capture Systems Require Overhaul 
Miss By and large, most vendors in this sector have not done a whole lot yet as they await to see how the market develops. With most healthcare organizations struggling to get the basics done (e.g., meet MU requirements, ICD-9 -> ICD-10, apply analytics, etc.) we are not seeing big demand from customers and subsequently, not a big push by vendors.

4. Mergers & Acquisitions Continue Unabated
Hit Another “gimme” of sorts for we had this prediction in 2010 and it was a “hit” and need only look at this market with its some odd 300+ EHRs to choose from, everyone wanting to call themselves at HIE vendor (last we checked, HIMSS listed some 189 HIE vendors alone), countless other HIT solutions to see that this market is far from mature. But arguably the biggest news in 2011 was Microsoft’s capitulation that despite the billion dollar plus investment, it wasn’t cut out or the clinical market and dumping its HIT assets into a new joint venture with GE. What we are also seeing is some rationality return as valuations have moderated. This may have led to Thomson Reuters’ recent decision to not sell-off its healthcare division – no one was willing to pay the high price tag they had on this property.

5. Federally Funded State Initiatives Struggle
Toss-up There has been some progress and there are those that would vehemently argue that Beacon Communities, RECs and state HIEs are moving ahead briskly. But then again, we do get some disturbing reports that all is not progressing as once envisioned, one might even go so far as to say some of these programs are beyond just struggling, but clearly going off the tracks. We’ll reserve judgment until we see clear evidence of such pending disasters, which will likely be prevalent, but highly distributed.

6. Changing of the Guard at ONC
Hit Not long after we posted our 2011 predictions, Blumenthal announced his resignation from ONC. We could not have been more prophetic if we tried.

7. Physicians will continue to go Ga-Ga over the iPad and the fast-following touchscreen tablets much to the chagrin of CIOs.
Hit Enabling physicians access to health information systems via their hand-held mobile devices, including touch-screen tablets is still a struggle for most organizations. At first, IT departments turned to Citrix as stop-gap measure, but the UX was far from ideal. In our recent research we found many an IT department still struggling to address this issue. mobile enablement of physicians is a top priority.

8. Apps Proliferate: Consumer-facing First, Private Practice Second, Enterprises Dead Last
Hit In hindsight, another admittedly easy prediction to make. What may be a more interesting prediction is when will mHealth Apps really become a truly viable market? Does the profitable exit of iTriage/Healthagen, which was picked up by Aetna portend such? By our standards, no. Go back to our recent post from the mHealth Summit for more in-depth analysis.

9. The Poor Man’s (doctor’s) HIE Takes Hold
Miss We thought that the Direct Project would quickly take hold and see rapid adoption among smaller physician practices and those organizations looking to “connect the last mile” to small affiliated practices in their network. Not happening yet though the current administration is doing its best to push this technology by requiring all state designated entities that are standing up statewide HIEs to include Direct in the strategic operating plan.

10. Analytics & Business Intelligence Perceived as Nirvana 
Hit, kind of… 
In retrospect, not even sure this was really a prediction but simply more of a statement as to where healthcare organizations are headed with their HIT investments. We have a long ways to go, though there is certainly no lack of vendors that now are touting some form of analytics capabilities. Our advice, tread carefully as most solutions today are half-baked.

11) The Buzz at HIMSS’11? Everything ACO! 
Miss 
While some vendors were discussing ACO enablement at the 2011 HIMSS, the vast majority were not with the key focus continuing to be meeting Meaningful Use requirements. As mentioned in previous prediction, we see MU as a tactical issue with the strategic issue being: How do we leverage IT infrastructure to support communities of care? Maybe at HIMSS’12 we’ll see more discussion of this issue, but we’re not holding our breath.

This may have been our best year yet with our predictions having only 3 clear misses out of 11 predictions made. Granted, some of those predictions were not exactly the most profound or shall we say big stretches, but we do take some satisfaction in really nailing a few.

And while we intend to provide our own 2012 predictions, no time like the present to begin the process. So we ask you dear reader, what is your 2-3 top predictions for 2012? Will Todd Park stay on at HHS? Will forced budget cuts decimate HITECH? Will the Supreme Court’s ruling on ACA have any impact on HIT spend by either payers or providers? Will mHealth Apps such as WellDoc’s for diabetic care finally receive a CBT code thereby accelerating adoption of such tools?  We look forward to your input.

And of course we wish everyone a Joyous holiday season and wish you and yours continued good health in the new year to come.

Home for Christmas by Thomas Kinkade

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Today, GE and Microsoft announced a joint venture (JV) that will lead to the formation of a new company (NewCo) targeting the clinical healthcare market sector. The NewCo will be located near Microsoft HQ in Redmond, WA, start with roughly 700 employees and combine the remaining Microsoft clinical products, Amalga UIS and the former Sentillion products Vergence and expreSSO with GE’s eHealth and Qualibria suite. NewCo’s new CEO will be GE’s Michael Simpson, who has been heading up the combined Qualibria-eHealth group since earlier this year after a re-org at GE. Along with this announcement, Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group (HSG) leader, Peter Neupert stated that he’ll be retiring.

Combine the above announcement with Microsoft’s long anticipated sale of Amalga HIS, which went to Orion Health in October, and you are left with Microsoft completely pulling out of the clinical market. Sure, they’ll claim to be still in healthcare by directly selling their horizontal products (e.g., SharePoint, MS Office, various server products, etc.) into this sector and having a stake in this JV, but it is also exceedingly clear that Microsoft will no longer have any direct involvement in this market, that will be left to GE. That being said, Microsoft did state that they’ll hang onto HealthVault, but even here, that is more likely a by-product of no one wanting to take on HealthVault rather than Microsoft’s strong desire to continue to try and build a viable, revenue generating entity out of it. Do not be too surprised if, in a year’s time, HealthVault falls to the wayside much like Google Health did this year.

During our briefing call with Microsoft and GE we learned the following:

Core to NewCo’s objectives is to leverage the joint assets of Microsoft and GE to build out an entirely new platform that will focus on four key areas to begin with:

  • Clinical surveillance to identify such things as infection outbreaks within an acute care facility before they run rampent.
  • Population health management to facilitate care management processes, which is a productization of work GE has been doing with Geisinger as part of the Keystone Beacon program.
  • Reduce hospital readmissions by leveraging analytics to identify patients at risk and initiate appropriate interventions.
  • Facilitate transitions in care, which like reducing hospital readmissions, is something that is on the mind of every senior healthcare executive we talk to.

These four target areas are nothing new or inspirational as just about every vendor we talk to has some program in place or under development to address these four areas as well. The product roadmap does not have much hitting the market until 2014.

Financial terms were not disclosed but our guess is that Microsoft contributed IP and the development team behind these products. In return, they will receive some sort of royalty stake in future sales. GE will lead the new organization, contribute its Qualibria/eHealth IP and GE sales and marketing will take the product(s) to market. Thus, most sales and marketing folks and other support staff in Microsoft’s former Health Solutions Group are being shown the door, which is unfortunate as we head into the holidays.

A couple of things come across as a bit ironic. First, Microsoft executives time and again stated that they knew what they were getting into when they entered this vertical and that it would take patience to build a viable presence. So much for patience. Second, Microsoft sold off the Amalga HIS product as many a potential HIT partner was wary of partnering with Microsoft as long as Microsoft had under ownership an EHR. Now what does Microsoft do, it joins in partnership with a struggling HIT vendor in the acute care market. Will any of the other major or even second tier HIT vendors partner up with the GE/MSFT NewCo – don’t bet on it.

The announcement also raises more than a few questions such as:

What becomes of Microsoft’s existing HIE contracts, particularly the one they pulled all the stops out to win, the Chicago HIE which is now under development?

What becomes of Microsoft’s recently announced relationship with Orion Health? Will Orion now be partnering with NewCo, which is essentially GE?  GE, with its own HIE solutions targeting enterprise accounts, is a direct competitor to Orion.

What becomes of HealthVault Community Connect, which combined Amalga with HealthVault and SharePoint? Is this now a dead product or will NewCo simply use the Centricity patient portal?

As you can probably tell by the tenor of this piece, we’re not a big fan of this announcement and are disappointed that Microsoft has decided to fold-up its tent and retreat. Unlike the legacy HIT vendors in this market, Microsoft could lay the claim to some neutrality and potentially build-out an Amalga-based ecosystem platform. But business is often not kind to those that have an altruistic bent and in this case Microsoft simply made a clear-cut business decision to unleash an asset that was not meeting internal metrics despite what some believe may have been an investment in excess of $1B in the last 5 years to build-out HSG.

Once again, another company with grandiose plans to change healthcare has quietly walked away leaving this market to the incumbent HIT vendors. We also do not see strong prospects for the future build-out of a robust ecosystem of partners on the combined Amalga-Qualibria platform that NewCo proposes as there are too many competitive issues that just get in the way. We could be wrong on this one, but our guess is that NewCo is likely to struggle as much as Microsoft has in the past for relevance in this fractious HIT market.

Addendum:
Sean Nolan, chief architect for Microsoft HealthVault, provides his own view on this JV announcement. While his view differs from ours on the implications and future of this JV and HealthVault, one thing we do hope that Sean proves us wrong on, is the future success of HealthVault. We would love nothing more than to see it succeed but at this juncture, we remain pessimistic. 

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As part of the process of setting our broader research agenda at Chilmark Research, we do a significant amount of secondary research combined with more limited, but highly focused primary research. We use this research to identify the “white spaces” where there appears to be a demand for some thoughtful, in-depth research and reporting that only an analyst firm such as Chilmark can provide. During that process, however, we often uncover some interesting trends similar to the HIE Snippets of the previous post.

Chilmark continues to follow the patient engagement realm, from mHealth Apps to PHRs, patient portals and personal health platforms such as Dossia and HealthVault. Recently, we have been receiving a significant number of inquiries from healthcare organizations that are developing IT strategies to meet Stage 2 meaningful use criteria to provide patients online access to their personal health information (PHI). We are also beginning to hear very early rumblings by a few forward thinking organizations on the use of new technology platforms, particularly mobile, to more deeply engage patients in managing their health in conjunction with impending value-based contracts. There have also been several announcements lately of roll-outs of Epic’s mobile patient engagement platform My Health. Lastly, earlier this week we had the pleasure to attend GE Healthcare’s Centricity Business National User’s Conference where we sat in on several patient engagement presentations. Following are some of the trends we are seeing that will be foundational to our future research on the topic:

HIE Vendors not up to task: A number of large healthcare organizations that have grown organically and through acquisition have a multitude of legacy IT systems from numerous vendors (not everyone is going Epic) in place. These organizations are now looking to link these systems together with an HIE solution and while they are at it, want to be able to provide patient access to their PHI. Problem is, most leading HIE vendors that have proven solutions for interfacing to multiple systems typically have poor patient-centric solutions. There are exceptions to every rule and companies such as RelayHealth and Kryptiq offer quite capable patient portals combined with secure messaging. But for those HIE solutions that lack such capabilities, healthcare organizations are having to look elsewhere to fulfill this need which is bringing business to MEDSEEK and Intuit Health.

Patient Portals interface first to transactions: Several of the presentations at the Centricity event were given by organizations with distinct clinical and administrative systems. Maybe it was just the venue, it was a Centricity Business Users’ Conference after all, but in each presentation on patient engagement the patient portal was driven from the admin-side. Sure, the portal could provide labs and some basic clinical data but it was really designed to help with the pre-registration process, appointment scheduling, secure messaging and Rx refill requests. Each organization we spoke to have plans to bring clinicals (some had Epic for clinicals, others Cerner) into the portal in the future to facilitate care processes for the truly sick, but that is a second order priority. This raises the question: Will front-end admin solutions, like Centricity’s Business Suite, become the core patient portal at the expense of those developed and offered by those from the clinical side of the fence?

Still in very, very early stages of mHealth App adoption: As mentioned previously, a number of organizations (Group Health Collaborative, Kaiser-Permanente, Stanford, UPenn Medical Center, etc.) have announced the release of an mHealth App for patient engagement, virtually all of them, My Chart instances. These releases are basically a mirroring of what is being done with patient portals mentioned above – enable transactional processes. We have yet to see anything, at any organization that has gone beyond pilot stage (e.g.WellDoc in Baltimore) in the deployment of a mHealth App to address a large at-risk population. This is puzzling for as we move to value-based contracts and accountable care, healthcare organizations will need to seriously rethink how they deliver health to chronic disease patients not just in the exam room, but at the patient’s home, in their car at work, wherever they may be to ensure compliance. mHealth can play a very effective role here but organizations’ reluctance to adopt is a chicken and egg scenario. There is not enough evidence to prove efficacy of mHealth Apps but if they don’t adopt, the evidence will not present itself. This will eventually break-thru, the question now is simply, when? And based on what we have seen in healthcare IT adoption to date, it could be a much longer wait than many VC firms and entrepreneurs currently have in their financial models.

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Sometimes, the job of an analyst can be so frustrating.

A core part of the Chilmark Research charter is to educate healthcare stakeholders on critical trends in the marketplace that will lead to better, more successful adoption of IT and subsequently improve the health of the nation (if not the world).  There are a couple of things we have learned along the way:

1) Little if anything gets adopted at scale in the healthcare sector (and for that matter virtually any other market) if it does not provide value to the end user that exceeds risk. That risk could be privacy, it could be a productivity hit, it may be liability; plenty of risk in healthcare, both perceived and real to trip up an IT initiative.

2) Provider engagement is crucial but if we really want to improve the health of the nation while concurrently lowering total healthcare spend (or at least slowing its growth) consumers/patients must also be engaged.

With those two points in mind, I was sadden and to some extent shocked at the press release announcing the formation of the New Hampshire Health Information Organization (NH-HIO). As I read this PR all I could think of was OMG, are they serious, is this their vision? If that is a vision, the NH-HIO leadership is wearing a blindfold.

So what brought on such a visceral response? Going back to those two points above:

1) Pushing summaries, referrals and orders electronically is the most basic function of any HIE and any quasi-government HIE, of which the NH-HIO is one, that has stated this as their core function has struggled to survive without some form of continual government subsidy. This isn’t a vision, this is just the same old, same old – your grandpapa’s HIE and will likely meet the same fate as that of Carespark and a host of others. Such an HIE provides very little, if any value to providers. And don’t even get us started on talking about the Fed’s Direct which frankly will do what NH-HIO envisions and doesn’t even need any overhead infrastructure, just a provider directory.

2) Nowhere in this fairly long and verbose PR is there any mention of what the citizen of New Hampshire gets out of the NH-HIO. Will they have equal access to their records? Will they be cc’d when summaries are sent so those files can get dropped into their personal, self-controlled folders, be it on their hard drive, their cloud service email account or even HealthVault? Nothing, absolutely nothing is said in this PR that relates to the consumer/patient. Talk about lack of vision. Geez, he says as he slaps his palm against his forehead.

Just to be fair, New Hampshire is not alone in lacking vision. This scenario has played out before and will likely be seen again but in this time of enormous government investments being made to facilitate the delivery of healthcare services via IT to ultimately reign in healthcare spending, examples such as this are the exact opposite as they will not lower costs and are a colossal waste of precious tax payer dollars.

Please, someone stop this madness.

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