5 trends advancing the health IT cause

Approaching a 'point at which all other trends converge'
By Gary Palgon
10:02 AM
  1. The rise of the hyper quantified self. There's no shortage of new technologies designed to engage patients. Wearable devices, patient portals, health metrics tracking apps, and other innovations are empowering patients to take ownership of their care. All this patient-generated data is a windfall to the medical community as well, delivering data that, once integrated into the fabric of our healthcare system, will play a huge role in the growth of personalized medicine and population health.
  2. Big Data. No IT trend list – for any industry – is complete without the mention of Big Data. The power of Big Data is revolutionizing every industry and healthcare is no exception. As digitization of healthcare data becomes the norm, the focus is shifting to acting upon the data collected. Thus, Big Data initiatives are on the rise and organizations are looking for ways to more efficiently store, access and glean insights from the data. It's a worthwhile goal as health data can help us reduce re-admittance rates, better understand illnesses, improve outcomes, personalize medicine according to DNA, predict outbreaks, and eliminate pandemics.
  3. Into the clouds. The benefits of the cloud – flexibility, scalability, lower costs to name a few – are spurring on cloud adoption. Cloud architecture allows for faster implementation of new initiatives and easier access to data – by providers, partners, and patients alike. Also, in the cases where fully managed cloud Platform as a Service infrastructures are leveraged, HIT organizations can alleviate the significant strain of maintaining in-house hardware and software, freeing up their resources to focus on more strategic projects.
  4. Improved collaboration between pharma and healthcare. The benefits of collaboration between pharma and healthcare have long been recognized by both industries. But functional data silos, security concerns, and differing data standards have historically made collaboration a big challenge. Fortunately, advances across the IT spectrum in areas such as computing, security, and cloud technologies have reduced the impact of these obstacles, allowing the two industries to more efficiently build transparency into their processes. As drug trial outcomes, clinical data, medical images, genomics research, and other types of industry data are made available to more players, everyone wins through improved pharma products and healthcare delivery.
  5. Advanced interoperability. In compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program's proposed rules for Stage 3 meaningful use, organizations must put significant efforts into securely connecting with external entities and systems. Now, with the basic level of interoperability largely achieved, attention has turned to advanced interoperability. Advanced interoperability is the ability to seamlessly pull together data from connected systems and sources to present a holistic, uniform view of the patient's health. In many ways, this trend is the point at which all other trends converge; without advanced interoperability, there's no way to sustainably bridge the gap between more data and meaningful data.