'Flurry' of new tech on tap for care coordination

Frost & Sullivan sees compound annual growth of 26 percent between now and 2020
By Mike Miliard
11:03 AM
Doctor with patient and family

The market for technology aimed at closing gaps in patient care is set for big growth in the next five years, as vendors aim to "smooth the pain points associated with transitioning from fee-for-service."

[See also: Care coordination experts talk best (and worst) practices]

As the shift to value-based care necessitates the ability to manage patients across acute, ambulatory and home care settings, electronic health records are not enough, according to the report. They're great at data capture but don't usually enable smooth coordination between care teams.

That means the market for technology that helps with proactive patient management should grow significantly in the coming years.

Frost & Sullivan defines care coordination software as IT applications specifically designed to enable team-based care – especially for patients with chronic conditions and those transitioning between care settings.

"Care coordination is an expansion of the traditional care management function assumed mostly by payers," said Frost & Sullivan Principal Connected Health Analyst Nancy Fabozzi, in a press statement. "Hospitals and physicians will increasingly look to deploy new IT to manage this function as they take on more risk, but key purchasing decisions for care coordination are likely to remain entrenched in the enterprise.

Integrated delivery networks, accountable care organizations and health plans will all be looking to avail themselves of these tools, according to the study, which projects a compound annual growth rate of 26.1 percent between 2015 and 2020.

Three market segments are examined in the report: ambulatory care, hospitals and patients. Care coordination tools deployed by physician practices are expected to be the fastest growing, with a CAGR of 43.2 percent. The hospital market is pegged for 33.2 percent growth, while the payer segment is expected to embrace these technologies to the tune of 21.5 percent growth.

While coordination applications can vary widely in functionality and sophistication, the tools should be flexible and extensible, according to F&S, with the ability to provide analysis and reporting among key stakeholders.

The most successful tools will provide solutions with unified, secure and workflow-enabled platforms that can quickly identify and manage at-risk patients, researchers say, enabling care teams to implement and track care plans, engage patients in self-management and offer closed-loop, 24/7 communication among providers, patients and families.

"In the next six years, the digital health market is likely to experience a continuous flurry of new products and services specifically designed to help smooth the pain points associated with transitioning from fee-for-service," said Fabozzi. "The move to value-based reimbursement is already a key driver for health IT, and efforts toward developing solutions for care coordination and population health management will accelerate significantly."