At times, many of us wish there were a crystal ball to easily show us what lies ahead in the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of health IT. Just two years ago, January 2016, I offered my own insights through a blog post projecting what would lie ahead for that year.
I looked back with curiosity on those projections and pleasantly confirmed that generally “I was on-track”. My 2016 forecast covered these topics:
- Ongoing industry consolidation
- Shifting of EMR focus from implementation to optimization
- CIO leadership challenges
After two years, I think it’s difficult to see each trend continue exactly as originally predicted. I think it is fair to say that the predictions from 2016 will continue to be trends for the future and that there will be additional trends developing.
With history on my side, here are the additional upcoming trends (for the next 24 months) that I foresee.
- Cyber Everywhere – It seems that not a day goes by without another organization reporting the loss of data. This situation continues where not only are the bad-actors getting smarter, faster, but individuals in which they prey seem to be getting less adept; which is frightening. Despite the best efforts of organizations to introduce education and technology to protect the data, many individuals continue to struggle in their own diligence surrounding cyber; often giving up their credentials to unscrupulous individuals and sharing private / confidential data on public networks. Look for much more draconian measures to be introduced along with more personal accountability associated with protecting data.
- Analytics, Analytics and Analytics – Interestingly the trend will be less about getting data out of the source systems or data mart, but more focused upon the operations personnel using the data in order to make substantive decisions and improvements within their organization. This will require strong collaboration between representatives of information services and their operational counterparts in order to gain consensus on an enterprise data model and data definitions.
- Service Orientation – With many organizations at the tail end of their electronic medical records implementations and industry statistics indicating that most organizations use about fifty percent (50%) of the application’s functionality, there is a significant opportunity for a redefined IS service approach that is much more proactive and personalized than simply reactive.
- Shift to Outpatient Care Settings – Reimbursement and risk bearing care arrangements will continue to drive patient care to the home and outpatient settings. Support of the medical home and particularly telemedicine and acquiring patient-reported outcomes will serve as strategic differentiators for healthcare organizations.
- Partner Innovation – For those with a stable EMR platform, the opportunity to drive significant value from their EMR through a variety of innovative technologies and partnerships has never been greater. Recent announcements between Apple and Stanford Medicine in which irregular heart rhythms are identified as part of a research study via the iWatch and a health system clinical command center is just the tip of the iceberg as organizations like Apple, Google, Amazon and others look to improve global health.
I’m interested to see what the next two years bring in terms of how this year’s projections work out. The healthcare environment continues to change rapidly.
Surprising partnerships— CVS and Aetna for instance — will generate new requirements and adjustments that change the landscape even further. As the past several years have displayed, the healthcare environment is one of consistent change and an exciting field to be a part of in innovating and shaping the future.