Top 10 health IT predictions for 2015

IDC says 'data-driven digital hospital strategy' a must-have in the year ahead
By Mike Miliard
10:58 AM
Man holding glowing globe

In 2015, hospitals will – and should – make more advanced use of "third platform" technologies based on mobile tools, social channels, data analytics and the cloud, according to a recent report from IDC Health Insights.

[See also: New to-do lists loom for 'post-EHR era']

With healthcare costs unsustainable, but these new technologies now ubiquitous, IDC officials say hospital CIOs will increasingly be turning to new tools – especially as consumers expect healthcare to be as responsive to their wants and needs as other industries.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity concerns, care coordination and patient engagement will continue to be top concerns, spurring new approaches to IT as hospitals develop increasingly sophisticated digital strategies to improve care quality, broaden access and drive efficiency.

[See also: IDC launches ACO roadmap]

Indeed, "operational inefficiency will become critical at 25 percent of hospitals," according to IDC Health Insights, leading to many of those hospitals drawing up new plans for their IT deployments – requiring budgetary increases.

IDC's other nine predictions:

  • By 2015, half healthcare organizations will have experienced between one and five cyber attacks in the previous 12 months – with a third of those attacks successful. This will necessitate investments in "a multi-prong security strategy to avoid disruptions to normal operations and incurring fines and notification costs."
  • Some 15 percent of hospitals will create comprehensive patient profiles by 2016, enabling them to deliver personalized treatment plans.
  • By 2020, an impressive 80 percent of health data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime, as providers increasingly leveraged hosted infrastructure for data collection, aggregation and analysis.
  • With an eye toward improving the consumer experience, 65 percent of transactions with healthcare organizations will be mobile by 2018, "requiring healthcare organizations to develop omni-channel strategies to provide a consistent experience across the Web, mobile, and telephonic channels."
  • The need to manage cohorts of patients with chronic conditions, will lead 70 percent of healthcare organizations to invest in consumer-facing mobile apps, wearables, remote monitoring tools, and virtual care. This in turn will lead to more demand for big data and analytics capability to support population health management initiatives.
  • Big data will be come commonplace, with more than half of organizations managing it with routine operational IT by 2018, reducing the need for specialized resources to support big data projects.
  • As hospitals depend more on outsourced services, "health and life science buyers will demand substantial risk sharing by 2018 to ensure that service providers recognize their growing role in the process and deliver added revenues to high performers at the expense of satisfactory or lesser performers."
  • A pressures mount to deliver better outcomes at lower cost, "payers will implement newer reimbursement models for 35 percent of their payments to providers in North America and the European Union within the next 36 months resulting in related investments in quality measurement, payment, and billing systems."
  • By 2020, nearly half (42 percent) of digital healthcare data will be unprotected -- but needs to be, as more and more stakeholders depend on bigger and bigger data sets.

In the year ahead, healthcare organizations will have to think hard "about IT investments that will need to be made and the impact they will have on an organization, all of which can be used to support the planning and budgeting process," said Scott Lundstrom, group vice president and general manager of IDC Health Insights, in a press statement.

"Common themes," he added, "include the focus on consumer experience and engagement, the use of mobile and internet enabled devices, and of course, the third platform technologies."

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