Ongoing market dynamics and trends will affect the acquisition, implementation, and use of connected health technology by U.S. health care providers, payers, and consumers in the year ahead and beyond. Increased understanding of these forthcoming changes will help health care organizations and I.T. vendors optimize their strategic planning and investments. Overarching themes that run through IDC Health Insights' top 10 connected health predictions include mobile, social, “big data," cloud, and analytics. Health reform and market pressures to reduce costs and improve the quality of care will play a major role in shaping the following 10 themes and predictions.   1. Legal and political challenges to health reform will not derail the fundamentals of ACO development.  Despite the uncertainty of the final form of health reform created by numerous constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and 2012 being an election year, it is clear that a fundamental shift in business models is currently under way. To deliver care under the new business model of accountable care, providers will leverage investments in meaningful use technologies. They will invest in technologies that include analytics, clinical decision support and consumer engagement tools.

2. Successful accountable care organizations will emerge from private or public-private initiatives.  Federal legislation is not required to move forward the principles of accountable care and the patient-centered medical home. Some of the most innovative and successful programs have been developed by commercial payers and in private-public relationships.  Expect to see more experimentation with new reimbursement and care delivery models from the private sector and fewer-than-expected health care organizations applying to CMS-sponsored payment pilot programs.

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