Meaningful Use Tops Healthcare Industry Challenges for 2011 | December 20 – Record spending on health information technology is greatly increasing the demand for experts in the field and tops a list of hot issues on the minds of healthcare leaders.

That’s according to a survey and report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute, which ranks the top 6 issues facing healthcare leaders in the coming year.

1.Electronic health records. PwC says federal requirements that hospitals and doctors meet at least one stage-one meaningful use requirement for an electronic health record system  in 2011 in order to receive federal stimulus funds has providers scurrying to order the right software and equipment.  Additionally, FDA rules will require online reporting of adverse events related to medical devices, resulting in deployment of tracking technology throughout the supply chain.

Electronic health record conversion also means upgraded coding, and the use of the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act formats require more than, 1,300 system modifications by Jan. 1, 2012.

2.  Health insurance. Redefining medical loss ratios and insurance exchanges.
Insurance plans are now required to spend 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care and healthcare quality improvements and if they spend less, they have to issue rebates to their customers.  How will insurers then price their products?  Some are opting to pay out the rebate rather than underprice their products in the first year.

3. Accountable care organizations. The next big thing?
PwC says that whether doctors and hospitals can align to make ACOs improve care and reduce cost depends a lot on Congressional action, how the regulations define what an ACO is and is not, and also depends on whether consumers will buy into them. Consumers may not be willing to seek all their care in an ACO, or make the required commitment to stay healthy.


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