The Affordable Care Act's new payment models have hospital leaders searching for effective ways to reduce costs, while increasing care quality. As the 2016 technology market will be inundated with innovations, ECRI Institute has released its annual list of the top technologies, many pointing the way toward value-based care.
"Hospital leaders have to deal with a lot of new technology issues – and demands from different departments in their facilities," said Robert P. Maliff, director of ECRI’s applied solutions group, in a press statement. The list is meant to assist leaders attempting to update and implement new technology.
ECRI takes an "evidence-based" approach in their assessments of healthcare innovations over the course of the year, officials say.
"We present hospital leaders with unbiased guidance to support informed decision making and help them understand how new innovations will affect care delivery," said Diane C. Robertson, ECRI's director of health technology assessment, in a statement. The topics and trends it expects will most affect healthcare over the next year:
1. Mobile stroke units. MSUs use specially-outfitted ambulances and staff members, in conjunction with telemedicine to perform blood tests, CT scans and TPA tests before the patient arrives at the hospital.
2. Medical device cybersecurity. Most healthcare IT leaders integrate stringent security features for network infrastructures and EHRs - but not for their mobile devices. As many devices are attached to patients' EHRs, C-suite members must perform threat assessments and know the devices and software connected to crucial patient data.
3. Wireless wearable sensors. As an increasing number of consumers turn to wellness apps, devices and wearable sensors, healthcare officials must learn how to utilize this data to reduce hospital stays and readmissions for those with serious and chronic conditions.
4. Miniature leadless pacemakers. Next-generation pacemakers are 10 percent of the size of conventional pacemakers and are designed for only one heart chamber. It's more effective than traditional models, but only ideal for 15 percent pacemaker patients.
5. Blue-violet LED light fixtures. These lights provide continuous environmental disinfection technology to kill harmful healthcare-related bacteria – a major cause of morbidity, mortality and increased healthcare costs in the U.S.
6. New high-cost cardiovascular drugs. Three newly-approved homecare cardiovascular drugs are expensive compared to standard-of-care medications, but short-term data has lauded efficacy.
7. Changing landscape of robotic surgery. The robotic surgery landscape is rapidly changing; vendor competition is set to explode in early 2016 with a switch from mainframe to tablet-type programs.
8. Spectral computed tomography. Spectral computed tomography will reenter the health tech conversation due to new tools and increased marketing. The tool builds on traditional CT scans by adding depth to the physiologic function of soft tissue with a dual-layer detector.
9. Injected bioabsorbable hydrogel (SpaceOAR). Approved for prostate cancer patients, SpaceOAR is designed to protect tissue and healthy organs from radiation treatment. Currently there is limited reimbursement for this product's use, but studies have shown the barrier to be highly effective.
10. Warm donor organ perfusion systems. New technology provides warm perfusion of lungs and hearts to eliminate the issue that two-thirds of organs are never used by hospitals, as viability deteriorates harvesting, preserving and transporting.