This year's annual AHIP Institute focused on the theme, “Together, We're Making Health Care Work.” The institute welcomed over 1,200 professionals from the healthcare IT industry representing 50+ organizations. Over the three days we spent in Nashville, we noticed four major trends: consumerism, transparency, interoperability and data exchange.

Consumerism in today's digital world

The first theme we noticed at the AHIP Institute was a renewed focus on the consumer. As the healthcare industry continues to transition to value-based care models, payers are recognizing that member engagement is critical to their success in this new era of care. The health insurance business is working to engage members by implementing digital platforms to meet the needs of key stakeholders. While providers need real-time information to provide higher-quality care for less money, insurance plans' members are demanding access to, and coverage for, retail-like clinical services (think on-demand, “Uber”-like service for at-home physician visits, virtual encounters and health coaches). With the latest wave of digital tools and the growth of mobile technology, consumers generate and control their data without being tied to a particular provider or insurer platform. As such, it is important to build strong relationships that are mutually beneficial to all parties in order to ensure consumer loyalty.

A transparent, modern healthcare system

Another topic that was discussed in many sessions at the AHIP Institute was transparency. All healthcare constituents are pushing for transparency, which allows all parties to make well-informed decisions regarding medical care. For the past two years, the U.S. has been accelerating the adoption of transparency initiatives and physicians all over are supporting the mission. CEO of Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, summarized it well during her AHIP presentation when she stated that she believes in the basic human rights of having access to information, preventative care and early detection. Holmes has dedicated her career to working towards a transparent, modern healthcare system that embraces technology and focuses on prevention.

Interoperability and Information exchange

Lastly, two major issues discussed at the conference were data exchange and interoperability. As payers, providers and patients switch to a value-based care model, an essential piece of the puzzle is interoperability and the ability to exchange information in a secure and timely fashion. While physicians need access to real-time information to provide higher quality care for lower costs, patients want access to their health information so that they can take preventative measures and be more engaged in their own care. Karen B. DeSalvo, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Health and National Coordinator for HIT, is focused on harmonizing states' policies to facilitate secure virtual healthcare and seamless information exchange. Karen specifically cited our client, Cal INDEX, as a great example of data exchange at a state level and reinforced how serious and practical the federal initiatives on interoperability and data exchange are. Additionally, she stated that she believes that health plans can play a critical role in the adoption of value-based care as they have the ability to enforce positive (and negative) behavior by incentivizing interoperability and data exchange.

Overall, we found the AHIP Institute to be very informative and educational. We always enjoy learning from our peers and received some great takeaways to inform Orion Health's continued innovation in the payer market. We look forward to next year's conference!