In the News: Aug 9–16

Hospitals’ Investment in Artificial Intelligence Expected to Increase

A recent Healthcare Finance article discusses new qualitative data suggesting hospitals will be investing $2 billion annually in artificial intelligence (AI) for diagnostic imaging by 2023. The article cites International Data Corporation (IDC) predicting 60% growth in AI investment worldwide this year alone. AI clinical applications have started to show improvement in outcomes and return on investment for hospitals, with conversations now centering around how to leverage these advances to increase diagnostic productivity, accuracy and access to radiologists.

Although AI spending for health care is expected to increase along with all other industries, the usage of AI for medical imaging requires additional work; regulatory processes must be established and widely adopted, and larger studies to validate algorithms must take place. There is, however, hope that with the current momentum behind AI and the expected worldwide investment of $46 billion by 2020, these hurdles will shortly cease to exist.

As new technology is developed at an accelerating rate, Sg2 believes incorporating it requires a fresh look at how success will be measured. To learn what considerations to take into account when evaluating technology acquisition, register for the upcoming Sg2 webinar Smart Technology Adoption.

Study Finds Opioid Prescribing Decreases After Physicians Learn of Patient’s Fatal Overdose

A recent article published in Science discusses a novel experiment in San Diego County in which doctors received a letter from the medical examiner’s office notifying them of their patient’s fatal opioid overdose. Physicians who received these “Dear Doctor” letters prescribed fewer opioids over 3 months after the intervention than those who did not receive a letter as a part of the study.

The study’s findings suggest there may be ways to encourage the cautious prescribing of opioids without restricting clinical freedom. This study emerged as an effort to humanize the opioid crisis for many physicians. Although opioid prescribing has declined in the US, opioid-related deaths continue to increase.

Sg2 believes that although substance use disorders will continue to grow over the next 10 years, hospitals and providers may face difficulty placing post-acute care (PAC) patients due to opioid misuse. For more information on how to prepare for the opioid crisis’s impact on PAC, read the Sg2 expert insight The Opioid Epidemic: Preparing for the Long-Term Impact on Post-Acute Care.

CMS Proposes Restructuring ACO Plans to Assume Greater Risk

A recent Modern Healthcare article details the latest CMS plan to “retire” the lower-risk tracks for accountable care organizations (ACOs) in an effort to overhaul the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The agency plans to replace the zero and low-risk Tracks 1 and 2 with a Basic track that provides a smaller window for upside risk before taking on downside financial responsibility. The agency proposal keeps Track 3, a higher-risk option, but renames it the Enhanced track.

Currently the majority of ACOs partaking in the Shared Savings Program are in a zero- or low-risk track. The National Association of ACOs has expressed concern that the proposed changes would force ACOs to assume risk they are not prepared for, prompting many to quit the program. The divestment of ACOs could move payment models away from value-based care to volumes-based fee-for-service options. CMS estimates that 107 ACOs will exit the program by 2026, yet Medicare savings will sum to $2.24 billion by 2028.

As the health care industry continues to focus on value, Sg2 encourages its members to evaluate their readiness for risk by assessing 4 leading indicators that enable insight into local market conditions for assuming risk. To learn more about how to assess risk readiness, read Sg2’s Tracking Markets’ Evolution Toward Value Based Care.

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