HIMSS: Top 9 trends to watch in health IT

By Jamie Thompson
10:02 AM
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Revenue cycle management, HIEs and Massachusetts are among the healthcare topics that every organization should have in mind for 2011 and beyond, according to HIMSS Analytics.

Included in the recent HIMSS Analytics report, "Essentials of the U.S. Hospital IT Market - 6th Edition," is an outline of the top health IT issues that will have a significant impact on the industry in the next few years, including:

1. Competitive Environments. Healthcare organizations will face pressure to meet funded and unfunded mandates before their competitors. Local and regional competitors should be watched for aggressive acquisitions, and new entrants or global competitors may enter the scene.

2. Revenue Cycle Management.
The PPACA regulations for Medicare reimbursements will pose a great challenge to hospitals as they work to maintain their revenue cycle operations. Keeping tabs on RCM vendors’ communications and strategies is key.

3. HIEs Healthcare information exchanges are a good barometer of how successful healthcare organizations will be with delivery models such as ACOs. The success of state HIEs outside of Medicaid support will be interesting to watch.

4. Healthcare Reform Legislation. The political landscape through the election year will impact PPACA. Partnerships between commercial payers and integrated delivery systems may implement models similar to PPACA’s programs.

[See also: Top 4 jobs ICD-10 will place in high demand.]

5. Massachusetts. The state now provides health insurance for all of its residents, which has burdened its finances. Monitor how Massachusetts works to rebound, and also keep an eye on the elections – particularly the fate of Republican U.S. Senator Scott Brown.

6. Potential Legislative Impacts. ONC communications regarding meaningful use will indicate that changes are needed for the majority of the market to achieve capabilities that will support PPACA initiatives. Funding for meaningful use is crucial, as any changes could negatively impact organizations’ ability to adopt more complete EHRs.

7. Interoperability. The Health Level 7 document proves that the industry is still paying attention to the need for standards, but vendors must see demand for its use. Semantic interoperability is another key issue – monitor ONC and meaningful use regulations for a standard medical vocabulary.

8. Enterprise Data Warehouses, Clinical and Business Intelligence. Evaluation of funding risks and competitive challenges is achieved through enterprise data warehouses and clinical and business intelligence. Such systems can also be used for all quality and outcomes reporting. Keep an eye on peer organizations for their implementations to gain insight on how these solutions can help.

9. Economics. The healthcare industry is still reeling from the recession. Spending on health IT will be conducted on infrastructure needs, and unfunded mandates will also have an impact on organizations. Examine bond-rating reports to get an idea of the financial stability of other hospitals.

What's on your list? Comment below.