After much anticipation, preparation, and predictions, the 2022 March Healthcare Classic is officially underway! The Selection Committee has been hard at work, determining which trends move on to Round 2 and which trends go home early. The matchups encouraged plenty of debate, and we’re excited to share the different perspectives from each of our esteemed Committee Members. Take a peek into our first Selection Committee meeting and read some of the commentary from the discussion.

Can you predict which trend will be our Top Healthcare Trend of 2022? Join us each week on LinkedIn as we narrow down the bracket and share your thoughts! Stay tuned as we reveal Round 2 results next Tuesday, March 22!

General Trends Region 

Kicking off the General Trends region, Private Equity Funding secured a 4-1 win against pre-season darling Preparedness. One Committee member wished for Preparedness to be number one, but acknowledged, “There’s so much money sitting on the sidelines right now that has not been put to work. I think you see a drop in valuations this year, given what the public markets will support, but I don’t think people are going to stop investing. Healthcare is too much of the economy.” Continuing the conversation, another Committee Member echoed this sentiment. “The ground is so ripe. I think Covid has actually helped spur on new ways of thinking and new ways of doing things. People are putting dollars behind that.”

Partner secured a slam dunk win with a 5-0 vote against DIY. “Speed to value is big, and honestly, strategic partnerships get you there quicker.” Aligning with the previous vote, another Committee Member stated, “Speed to value [can only be accomplished] with large organizations that have a big sandbox to test in.” The Selection Committee also noted that, “You find best in class when you can partner.”

“You find best in class when you can partner.”

In a Round 1 rematch from 2021, Health Equity trumped Health Literacy, securing 4 out of 5 votes. (Health LIteracy won last year’s matchup). “I think health literacy is pretty far away. It seems like things are getting more complicated. We’ve tried to pull it together, but the industry has gotten further away.” Another Committee Member weighed in, “You can’t have health equity without improving health literacy. If we’re talking about it from a trend perspective, there isn’t a big enough spotlight on what health literacy means and is.” Our final Committee Member described Health Equity as a “slam dunk.”

While Innovative TPAs made a reappearance from last year, it did not fare any better in the 2022 bracket, losing to Innovative PBMs. One Committee Member said, “The term Innovative TPA is an oxymoron. [Innovative PBMs] all the way. All the drug costs – that’s where the money is.” This sparked an internal debate. “I agree that drug cost spending is going to go up. Going back to the last matchup, if we want to improve health equity and health literacy, you need an innovative partner that [PBMs] have not brought to the table.”

Patient Experience vs. Provider Experience was a toss up among the Selection Committee. On one hand, a Committee Member stated, “As a system that delivers health, patients first is everything.” Aligning with that opinion, another Committee Member agreed. “Patients need to be the beginning of this and the end of this.” In contrast, another perspective was shared. “Patient experience is only impacted when your providers are engaged and aligned, moving the organization in the right way.” Ultimately, Patient Experience banked in a three pointer at the buzzer, moving ahead to Round 2.

Like Partner, Workforce Challenges was another trend that secured all 5 votes from the Selection Committee, leaving Care Navigation wondering where to go next. The Selection Committee was in agreement that “workforce challenges may be the biggest force driving traditional care.” This is clearly one to watch for the rest of the tournament.

“Workforce challenges may be the biggest force driving traditional care.”

While Affordability was another holdover trend from 2021, it did not fare well against Convenience. One Committee Member stated, “Convenience [wins], because healthcare will never be affordable.”

Care Delivery Region

Leading off the Care Delivery Region, top seed Advanced Primary Care secured all 5 votes against Concierge Medicine. However, tougher days might be ahead. According to one Committee Member, “Advanced primary care wins, but they are an overseeded number one. Their regular season was mediocre at best. However, Concierge Medicine is one of those 2010 teams that squeaks into the big dance based on program reputation more than anything else.” Another Committee Member retorted with, “Concierge Medicine is only a winner in South Florida.” 

“Concierge Medicine is only a winner in South Florida.”

While Behavioral Health did not progress in the 2021 bracket, it landed the votes from all 5 Committee Members this year, leaving Musculoskeletal Care hoping for a better outcome in 2023. The ongoing effects from the pandemic have boosted the importance of behavioral health, with more executives shifting their focus to this space. “The last two years have created a behavioral health crisis. That’s a major focus and a big win here.” Another Committee Member stated their reasoning included the implications that the pandemic has had on nurses, physicians, and other frontline staff.

 “The last two years have created a behavioral health crisis. That’s a major focus and a big win here.”

Brick and Mortar and Hospital at Home went head-to-head for the second year in a row. Unlike last year, however, Hospital at Home secured the majority of votes. The pandemic seemed to be a driving factor among our Committee Members for this decision too. “I’m choosing Hospital at Home. The pandemic has taught us we can deliver in a variety of different ways.”

In a battle of two trends with similar playing styles, Digital Care emerged as a strong newcomer, landing all 5 votes over Virtual Care. A Committee Member shared their perspective. “Asynchronous care is under utilized. There’s a lot that can be done without a video channel.”

The Selection Committee was also in unanimous agreement that there needs to be a focus on Omnichannel Care over In-Person Care.. “As a trend, people are struggling on the execution of omnichannel, and in-person care still seems to be the preference for a lot of patients, but certainly omnichannel care is where we need to be.”

Business Model Innovation Region 

Medicare Advantage secured a dominant 5-0 victory, leaving Medicare Direct Contracting leadership so embarrassed they changed their name and immediately began regrouping for 2023. One Committee Member confidently predicted, “Medicare Advantage – they’re going to win the tournament.” Another Committee Member shared their perspective. “The money and the opportunity and the head start that Medicare Advantage has, makes it the winner.”

Landing support from all Committee Members, Direct to Employer moved forward to Round 2 ahead of Direct to Consumer. “Direct to Consumer about five years ago had its heyday. [People] expect healthcare to be covered regardless of all the transparency tools we can put around it. Direct to Consumer – all those models – changed more to B2B models. We’ll continue to see interest in growth [surrounding Direct to Employer models].” 

PMPM also received unanimous support from the Selection Committee. A Committee Member said, “PMPM because we haven’t achieved Shared Savings like we thought we could.” Another Committee Member joked, “Shared savings… their bus crashed on the way to the arena. They didn’t even show up.” 

Full vs. Partial Capitation provoked a debate among the Selection Committee. One Committee Member shared, “Full capitation is the only model that frees up all innovation we hope to bring. I’m going to keep that as the North Star.” On the other hand, another Committee Member said, “Partial is the only thing that really works.” In the end, Partial Capitation won a tight one, securing a 3-2 vote. 

“Full capitation is the only model that frees up all innovation we hope to bring. I’m going to keep that as the North Star.”

The Selection Committee was divided between High Value Networks and Payviders. Ultimately, Payviders secured 3 votes. A Committee Member laughed saying, “Even though I detest their mascot, Payvider wins here.” Another Committee Member disagreed. “I think you can do better [than payviders] by saying ‘We’re going to offer care differently in a smaller network.” In a closing sentiment, a Committee Member stated, “There’s no such thing as a high value network.”

Rounding out this region, a Committee Member said, “Payviders, Vertical Integration, and RBEs share a locker room. We view those as the future.” 

Data & Technology Region 

SDOH secured the majority of votes against Wearables, but the Selection Committee was torn on this matchup. “This was an awful game to watch and it’s disappointing by both teams. Both were over promised and under delivered.” Another Committee Member said, “SDOH is a lot like solving for world hunger.” 

Predictive Analytics and Population Health Analytics also had a competitive matchup. Ultimately, Population Health Analytics won with a 3-2 vote. “It’s a tough call. Normally I would go with Population Health Analytics, but I think we are past that term at this point.” Another Committee member weighed in. “Predictive Analytics is trendier, but there is so much we haven’t solved for on the Population health Analytics side.”

In a battle of heavyweights, Remote Patient Monitoring secured the majority of votes over Telehealth, moving forward to Round 2. “Remote Patient Monitoring is trendier right now, even though there are a lot of telehealth options that haven’t been explored.” Another Committee Member shared, “As a provider, it’s been a little bit easier to get some uptake on the RPM and digital tools versus the live telehealth visits.”

The next matchup between Interoperability and Digital Front Door sparked a heated debate between the Committee Members. “I’m going with Interoperability. Digital Front Door sounded cool about two years ago.” In response, another Committee Member said, “I’m going with Digital Front Door. Interoperability sounded cool about eight years ago.” In the end, Interoperability landed the win with a 3-2 vote. 

Synthetic Data is still a bit too young and failed to take down Precision Medicine. One Committee Member shared, “I thought Synthetic Data was a made up team, like Maguire University (“We Play Hurt”). I thought Synthetic Data was an attempt to have a Final Five.” 

“I thought Synthetic Data was a made up team, like Maguire University (“We Play Hurt”).”

Special thank you to our Selection Committee for providing their time, expertise, and entertaining commentary. As proven by this year’s bracket selections, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the industry and where organizations are choosing to shift their focus. Considering this, how will last year’s trends continue to fare against the newcomers? Which trend will be the Cinderella of this year’s bracket? 

This is commentary from our 2022 March Healthcare Classic. Explore this year’s interactive bracket to see the most impactful healthcare trends face off.