Manisha Sharma headshot with blue background

After attending my first AHIP (America’s Health Insurance Plans) national conference, I was struck by the level of engagement and conversation between payers, providers, and vendors. It was a lively discussion, and I came away with a strong impression that every participant wants to collaborate and find solutions that will reduce the cost of healthcare while still providing quality care.

One of the more interesting presentations was the state of healthcare, as shown by the consulting company, Advisory Board. The firm’s big takeaways:

  • Elevated healthcare costs continue to strain all players, including employers, payers, and providers.
  • Payers keep moving to a value-based care model.
  • National payers continue their march for a vertical-based business model.
  • Corporate-owned physician practices continue unabated.
  • Telehealth still has room to grow.
  • Numerous opportunities still exist in the digital health space.

Here are the three other big themes I observed at this year’s conference that gained a lot of attention:

Health Equity

While both payers and providers agree that health equity is a noble goal, there’s still a concern about how this can be addressed in the short term. One solution—the availability of meaningful data to provide actionable insights. Several use cases were described at the conference on improving the delivery of care, member outcomes, lowering the cost of care, and decreasing disparity. However, more can still be done, according to the presenters. A lot of discussions centered on better alignment with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) framework for health equity and what type of solutions payers and providers can offer.

Women’s Health

Women’s health took front and center at this year’s AHIP conference, as several presenters offered ideas, opinions, and programs that could improve the outcomes and quality surrounding women and their health. Several presenters discussed how Medicaid has become the focus on women’s health as the federal government hopes to improve the lives of disadvantaged women, such as the high mortality rates associated with childbirth and early infant childcare. Several use cases were presented addressing these issues, including data and analytics to help identify areas of concern. Examples of how artificial intelligence is used in obstetrics and gynecology to improve women’s health care, such as early detection of problems during and after pregnancy, were also presented.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) clearly captured a lot of attention at this year’s conference. Not only were there demonstrations and examples of AI in action, but several vendors showcased their expertise in the topic as well on the exhibit floor. As someone with experience building learning machine algorithms, I was particularly interested in how AI was applied to real-world situations to improve health outcomes. For example, I attended a session about streamlining payer/provider relationships by leveraging AI for utilization review transformation. But there was also discussion about whether or not AI can be used for diagnostic capability. My own take is that AI will not replace doctors any time soon (nor should they), but AI could be very beneficial in helping clinicians make good decisions faster. In other words, AI could become a good optimization tool. That’s what AI can do well – consume a lot of data and then send highlights or key points so you can make decisions rather than going through all of the data yourself. We’re seeing some real progress, for example, in the use of AI in radiology, where tasks are very concrete, and AI has successfully rendered value.

Another area where AI has caught on is health documentation, where it’s providing strong results. For example, transcribing has been around for a long time, but we’re starting to see some real inroads in physicians being able to accurately convert their notes into a meaningful format that can be stored in the EMR. I think we will see even more innovation in that area, especially with the introduction of ChatGPT.

The discussion about using artificial intelligence is near and dear to me since we, at NantHealth, continue developing our solutions to help payers and providers save time and money, and improve outcomes. That’s why it’s so important for payers and providers to ask – can you trust the company building AI tools? Do they have the track record to deliver on the promises they make? That’s one of NantHealth’s strengths – we have a strong background in building platforms that help bring payers and providers closer to work more efficiently. Thanks to AI, it’s exciting to be at the forefront of building even better solutions.

Overall, the AHIP conference was an invaluable opportunity to see what is trending in healthcare technology and how NantHealth can be a part of that innovation. I can’t wait to apply what I’ve just learned.

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