Aging healthcare IT systems hindering insurers, says survey

According to the results of a recent survey, many medical insurance providers will need to make significant upgrades to their healthcare IT infrastructure to comply with new technologies and ensure that patients receive the care they need, reports Information Week.

However, the study, which was published by Massachusetts-based health information management software developer HealthEdge, also suggests that costs and implementation timelines may be barriers for some companies.

Approximately one-fifth of respondents to the survey cited problematic deadlines as a primary reason for their failure to implement the new International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th revision (ICD-10) codebase. Additionally, 36 percent of survey participants indicated that they were only now just beginning to prepare for the ICD-10 transition deadline.

“We’re going from one-size-fits-all healthcare to this brave new world of personalization,” Ray Desrochers, executive vice president of HealthEdge, told the news source. “It’s very clear that payers have a lot of work to do [to participate in these new business models] from [a healthcare IT] perspective.”

Although the deadline for adoption of the revised ICD-10 codebase is still more than one year away, many insurers and some healthcare providers remain concerned that meeting the deadline will place additional strain on medical budgets and healthcare IT personnel.

However, according to Healthcare Finance News, the transition may ultimately save medical professionals money in the long run. Some experts say that it will enable them to assess patients’ needs more effectively through the development of enhanced care models based on comparative effectiveness research.

As new methods of treating patients have been advanced by healthcare IT, so too have the ways in which insurance providers ensure that their members have adequate coverage. Changes in the medical insurance business have been largely motivated due to direct legislative action, such as the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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