Predictive analytics, telemedicine among health IT trends with greatest impact, report finds

In the coming months and years, hospitals and health systems that adopt digital solutions such as advanced data analytics and telemedicine platforms will see reduced costs and improved quality of care, according to a new Moody's Investors Service report.

Here are four key trends identified in the Healthcare Quarterly report, which found that overall, though hugely beneficial in the long run, these and other digital tools will require sizeable upfront investments from healthcare organizations.

1. Data collection and predictive analytics tools will become crucial as insurers and employers implement reimbursement models based on patient outcomes. Artificial intelligence technology will also play a role in reducing readmissions penalties and uncompensated care by providing further analysis of patient data.

2. Beyond cutting costs, data analytics will also help boost hospital efficiency. Analytics solutions that can detect disease or predict outcomes, like those deployed at Johns Hopkins Health System and HCA Healthcare, will not only improve quality but also prevent unnecessary admissions and readmissions.

3. Implementing consumer-facing portals for data access and virtual care will improve patient satisfaction, especially among convenience- and digital-first millennials, therefore preventing them from turning to non-traditional competitors for their healthcare needs.

4. To prevent non-traditional telemedicine companies from luring patients away, hospitals will need to invest in their own virtual care offerings, which will also help maintain services as the nationwide physician shortage continues. Per Moody's, larger health systems will be able to develop their own telemedicine platforms, while smaller, rural hospitals will likely rely on collaborations with those larger systems' platforms.

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