At the close of last year, I called 2021 “another weird one” but it seems that “weird” may be the new normal as 2022 was just as weird, albeit for very different reasons. This year, I invited Redox experts Alex Peitz, Garrett Rhodes, and Nick McKenzie (internally dubbed the Redox “Interopistas”) to help me reflect on what happened in 2022, and what we should be prepared for in 2023 (spoiler alert, it’s probably going to be pretty weird too).
To start, I asked the Interopistas if 2022 went like they imagined it might. The short answer from all of them was “not exactly.” A few things seemed to proceed as expected, including the adoption of FHIR standards across the EHR market base, but much was rather unexpected. Post-COVID, we predicted some slowing in the adoption of digital health technology, but we were surprised by the depths of that slowing and by the overall lack of new innovation in 2022 following tremendous growth in both 2020 and 2021. Healthcare may be “recession-proof”, but it seems clear that healthcare technology companies are more “technology” than they are “healthcare” as they have been extremely vulnerable to the market downturn.
Leaving 2022 in the rearview, I asked the Interopistas what they anticipated we would see in the new year. Overall we are optimistic about the prospects of 2023, with real gains expected in a few areas:
- FHIR adoption will likely grow – The FHIR community has created detailed solutions for common healthcare problems like prior authorization that haven’t seen full adoption as underlying EHR technologies have lagged. With EHR advancement and other technologies (like Redox) poised to fill the remaining gaps, we are looking forward to many of these solutions becoming commonplace in 2023 and witnessing the beginning of the end of antiquated technologies.
- TEFCA will make real progress – We hope TEFCA will move us beyond the current state of multiple nationwide networks, each progressing at different rates. TEFCA can effectively consolidate technical operations and future policy iterations under a single roof. The caveat here is that incentives (or penalties) are likely required to achieve the rate and level of adoption that will lead us to true transformation, but we remain optimistic.
- Expanded (positive) regulation – Whether it be through TEFCA, federal policy, or workgroup policy, we hope 2023 is the year that nationwide networks expand purposes of use beyond Treatment. Additionally, we anticipate the finalization of recent Burden Reduction/Prior Authorization proposed rules from CMS and something from ONC on that front as well.
- Continued consumer adoption of technology as part of their healthcare journey – There is more attention on meaningfully engaging, treating, and educating patients in more care venues (at lower costs) than ever before. We are hopeful that the next leap will be more consumers accessing and engaging with their health data to better understand clinical decision-making and care costs. We believe this ultimately leads to better care and outcomes for patients.
Amid our idealism are some things to watch:
- The risk of bad actors using patient data in harmful ways is ever-present in our business, but this risk can sometimes incentivize healthcare organizations to lock down data access. In 2023, regulators, and the industry as a whole will be challenged to find innovative ways to protect patients without rolling back access in an attempt to mitigate risk.
- Perhaps our largest fear is the downturn in the markets, its impact on the digital health ecosystem, and ultimately the downstream impacts on patients, clinicians, and support staff. We have already seen some early signs of what might be to come with the collapse of Medly, and the impact it’s having on the patients who relied on Medly to fill their prescriptions. Further, while we are generally optimistic about FHIR adoption in 2023, it may be hampered by the expected macroeconomic conditions. We hope its promise of delivering ROI in place of older, slower, and more labor-intensive interoperability methods will be enough to keep FHIR adoption on pace in challenging times.
To close out, I asked the interopistas what role Redox will play in helping guide customers through what might be a pretty weird 2023. We have some big plans.
Redox has built an in-depth knowledge of what kinds of integrations work in an industry with an incredible diversity of products and technical capabilities. We are no longer just an integration company to connect digital health applications to provider EHRs – we connect products, providers, payers, and more across the healthcare landscape. In 2023, you can expect Redox to:
- Accelerate healthcare into the cloud – We are observing a seismic shift in healthcare IT toward cloud computing, AI/ML, and standardized data structures like those that have rapidly advanced other industries. Redox intends to play a foundational role in facilitating the inbound and outbound aspects of data flow to those cloud-native services and tools with Redox for Cloud and our strong partnerships with the largest cloud services providers.
- Advancing the capabilities of our customers to exchange data without a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) – We are already the fifth most connected organization on Carequality, and have some very exciting announcements coming on that front and others in 2023.
- Ongoing dedication to customer success – In 2023, we will update our dev docs with even more guidance and information to help companies across the healthcare landscape understand the flow of data and how it can be leveraged to improve patient and clinician experiences.
We can’t wait to deliver these exciting things (and more) in 2023 and to see where our predictions land. Whether we are right or wrong, I am rather certain it will be a weird one. See you over there.