Healthcare IT Trends for 2016
Published in Electronic Health Reporter, 12/26/15
Robert Williams, PMP
I continue to view 2016 as a shakeup year in healthcare IT. We’ve spent the last 5 plus years coming to grips with the new normal of Meaningful Use, HIPAA and EMR adoption, integrated with the desire to transform the healthcare business model from volume to value. After the billions of dollars spent on Electronic Health Records and hospital/provider acquisitions we see our customers looking around and asking how have we really benefitted and what is still left to accomplish.
All Politics Are Local
Our healthcare providers are realizing their clinical applications, specifically EMR vendors, are not going to resolve interoperability by themselves. When the interoperability group, CommonWell formed in 2013 much of the market believed the combination of such significant players (Cerner, Allscripts, McKesson, Athenahealth and others) would utilize their strength to accelerate interoperability across systems. Almost three years late CommonWell only has a dozen pilot sites in operation.
Evolving HL7 standards and a whole generation of software applications are allowing individual hospitals to take the task of interoperability away from traditional clinical applications and creating connectivity themselves.
Black Book’s recent survey published last month, stated that 3 out of every 4 hospitals with more than 300 beds are outsourcing IT solutions. Hospitals have been traditionally understaffed to meet the onslaught of federal requirements. Can they evolve into product deployment organizations as well? Across all the expertise they need within the organization? Most are saying no and searching out speciality services organizations to supplement their existing expertise and staff.
Are You Going To Eat That?
Patient engagement is on fire right now at the federal level (thank you Meaningful Use Stage 3), in investment dollars and within the provider community. But to truly manage hospital readmissions and select chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity and congestive heart failure for example) providers need data and trend analysis on daily consumer behaviour. The rise of wearable technology and the ability to capture data/analyze data from them will be a major focus going forward. These technologies will likely help to make us healthier but with a bit of big brother side effect.
EMR Revolution 2.0
Healthcare providers no longer remain in full trust of their EMR vendor to be their healthcare support partner across all their challenges and goals into 2016. Competing applications once thought ancillary to the EMR (bed management, physician rounding, clinical decision support, telemedicine and others) are now standing alone and taking responsibility away from the EMR. If the EMR is truly at it’s core just a database, future value comes from what’s connected to it.
The definition of what constitutes the “last mile” of healthcare is rapidly evolving. Mobility solutions now let providers extend the point of care to virtually anywhere the patient is. Now that we can direct clinical applications, data capture and analysis to a patient device, worn outside the four walls of the hospital, and analyzed by the physician in any location mobile solutions and devices are now the tools of choice to provide continuity of patient care.
Commercialization of Subject Matter Expertise
While the rank and file of hospitals are struggling with resources, a few are realizing their opportunity to productize their subject matter expertise to clinical and financial benefit. One of the best is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Healthcare systems as both care provider and product development organization points to a significant area of growth for healthcare and a potentially potent competitive factor to existing vendors.
Robert Williams, PMP is the Chief Executive at goPMO, Inc. leveraging his depth of expertise in most areas of healthcare information technology including healthcare software, operations and support, e-commerce, technical and product delivery. Robert is a veteran of the United States Army and before goPMO has served the healthcare industry among many healthcare providers including WellCare, Sutter Health and others. Robert holds a BS in Management Information Systems and an MBA in Marketing and e-Commerce.