Payers cool to IT business prospects

Payers are taking a middle-ground approach toward how healthcare IT can transform their businesses, with somewhat less than half saying it will mitigate rising costs in coming years, Information Week reported.

According to a survey by KPMG, 44 percent of payers surveyed said they believed healthcare IT would help in controlling costs, noted Information Week. By comparison, only 32 percent of the payer sector believed pay-for-performance would hold down costs, and only 22 percent believed accountable care organizations could deliver cost savings or containment.

And while 65 percent of provider executives surveyed said they expected big changes to their sector over the next five years, only 41 percent of their counterparts at health plans believed that was the case. Moreover, just 20 percent of health plan executives believed their current business model was unsustainable or not very sustainable, versus 27 percent of provider executives.

However, 55 percent of health plan executives did believe it was possible to partner with providers and suppliers to better control costs, according to KPMG.

Officials with KPMG believed that no matter the outlook of payers, they will have to change some of the ways they do business.

"Health plans are also concerned about large employers exiting, as some are already assuming risk and using healthcare plans for administrative services only. Health plans must focus on differentiating themselves to attract the individual market," said Cynthia Ambres, M.D., a KPMG principal and member of its Global Healthcare Center of Excellence, last week in a statement.

For more:
- read the Information Week article
- here's the KPMG statement