The top healthcare investment areas in the US

An analysis of the first stage of the federally funded State Innovation Model initiative reveals several key areas of investment in healthcare that could fundamentally change the nature of the industry, according a recent Accenture report.

The initiative, a creation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), first awarded $300 million to 25 states to design and test "innovative healthcare payment and service delivery models," according to CMS. Round Two provided more than $660 million to 32 states/territories to both design and test these models.

In its analysis of the first round's State Health Innovation Plans, Accenture identifies some of the following major investment areas:

Digital tools and telehealth. The majority of participating states invest in equipping consumers with patient portals/tools for self-health management, according to Accenture. For example, Delaware plans to introduce mobile apps to allow patients to access their personal electronic health records as well as obtain access to care delivery options. Further, 19 states seek to expand the use of virtual care technology in improve access to and quality of care.

Payer database reforms. More than half of participating states plan to construct or modify all payer claims databases to provide access to more stakeholders and reduce redundancy, the report indicates. States such as Washington also use claims data to evaluate risk, costs and outcomes for patients throughout their health and human services programs.

Community care management. Every participating state invests in patient-centered medical homes to strengthen primary care outcomes, and some, like Maryland, use human services "navigators" to coordinate primary care and social services programs. The integration of behavioral health and preventive care also factors into many states' innovation plans. Finally, to reduce healthcare costs, many states focus on increasing the number of community health workers.

"These initiatives taking hold across the country are part of the shift from an essentially outdated healthcare system to the evolution of family and community-centered care models and a real convergence of health and human services," Kaveh Safavi, M.D., global managing director of Accenture's health practice, said in a statement about the report.

To learn more:
- access the report
- read the statement
- check out the CMS program overview