If IT companies want to make money through contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services, they need to follow one thing: data.
That was the message in a presentation given Tuesday by McLean, Virginia-based market intelligence firm ImmixGroup geared toward IT companies looking for business opportunities within the department.
Chris Wiedemann, a senior analyst with ImmixGroup said those looking for new business should concentrate on four main departments within HHS: the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
A good portion of what CMS plans to spend its budget on revolves around the continued upkeep of the federal health insurance exchanges, helping CMS determine and implement the third stage of meaningful use standards and allow for innovation in regards to medicare and medicare waste, fraud and abuse.
ImmixGroup said CMS will have an estimated $2 billion to spend on IT, but that number is subject to change since the figure is based on the center’s fiscal year 2015 budget request. That money could go toward data analytics programs for the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation and the Healthcare Fraud Prevention Partnership for the early stages of an infrastructure that will provide new “centralized access to medicaid and medicare payments,” and a focus on population health management tied to electronic health records.
Wiedemann warned that any company that wants to get involved in this area will need to quell fears about data security.
“Data security, wherever you are talking about Health IT, there is some degree of [personally identifiable information] or HIPAA-protected data,” he said. “There is a layer of security that has to be wrapped around those requirements.”
ImmixGroup sees opportunity at NIH in helping build and maintain “advanced research environments,” including new bioinformatics to enhance clinical use research. Wiedemann said the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute will be looking for clinical trial support tools.
At the FDA, there is emphasis being placed on IT infrastructure and data center management, focused on the design and maintenance of server farms, network support and storage backup. Another major focus area is on mobile device management and virtualization. This focus is being spun off of an investment already made during fiscal year 2014.
The lion’s share of CDC’s budget will focus on information sharing between the center and hospitals along with complex analytics tools that help the center monitor and protect against bioterrorism. CDC is also placing a major emphasis on improving bandwidth, which is expected to jump 20 percent year-over-year.
While ImmixGroup said these four agencies will “control the majority of the IT budget,” each one operates “extremely independent” of HHS when it comes to IT, and they often have ways to acquire technology without it affecting their actual IT budgets.