Blockchain will drive interoperability, says Everest Group's Abhishek Singh

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Abhishek Singh, practice director on the IT services team at Everest Group.

Mr. Singh will speak during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference on "Research on the Blockchain," at 10:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: What is the most exciting thing happening in health IT right now?

Abishek Singh: Breaking the wall brick by brick through an application programming interface economy. The debate on interoperability has started to move the needle. The focus on cloud-based EMRs, enterprise resource planning systems and customer relationship management systems is creating the foundation on which interoperability may become a reality by 2025. The prodigy that will help accelerate the move to this reality will be blockchain technologies

Q: And what is the most overrated health IT trend? 

AS: [The idea that] machines [are] taking over man in medicine. While [artificial intelligence] and cognitive technologies are unlocking efficiencies for clinicians, they are still a long way off in terms of the impact they promised. As an industry, we should take it easy when it comes to AI because medical practitioners will be pivotal to the shape technology will take in determining outcomes — clinical or cost. By putting AI at the forefront, we are creating unrealistic expectations and doing a disservice to the technology's potential by making clinicians defensive

Q: What is the biggest barrier to price transparency in the healthcare industry? 

AS: [A] lack of a marketplace(s) for healthcare services and products. There are many intermediaries in the current ecosystem — payers, pharmacy benefits managers, hospitals, pharma, investors and state. Insurance marketplaces were a good start, but there was too much regulation and state intervention. With employers making the move from defined benefits and toward defined contribution, there is going to be a shift toward healthcare becoming a truly [business to consumer] market. Purchasing power in the hand of consumers will create the kind of perfect storm in healthcare that led to the inception of Uber and Airbnb in the travel and hospitality industries

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