Terry Edwards

2016 Trends: What’s ahead in healthcare IT?

By Terry Edwards  /  14 Jan 2016

As I looked back over the past few years of movement within healthcare industry, I’m amazed at how much of a misnomer the oft-used phrase, ‘slow-moving healthcare industry,’ really is. In just a few years, we’ve seen a steady move toward value-based care; the majority of organizations adopted EMRs; patient engagement is a major focus for providers; and technology advancements, from security to robotics to virtual reality, are truly beginning to take shape. It’s an exciting time to be in healthcare, and I can see the industry as a whole taking big leaps ahead to improve care and outcomes for patients.

To maintain this healthcare IT momentum, there are a few technology trends that will help drive discussion and change in 2016:

  1. Hospitals will invest in new enterprise-wide healthcare IT infrastructure. EMR adoption continues to be a huge undertaking for healthcare providers, requiring large investments, staff resources and a new way of working for clinicians. EHRs have had a huge impact, both in terms of patient care and clinician workflow, but organizations are realizing that EMRs are not the end-all and be-all of healthcare technology. In 2016, providers will start to put the pieces in place to build the healthcare IT system of the future – one that can accommodate advances in genomics, smart computing, analytics, operational intelligence and other emerging clinical and technology innovations, while increasing security to protect patient health data and enabling the real-time health system.
  1. Healthcare data will explode. Healthcare data is rapidly growing, and has been estimated to be even greater than 150 Exabytes. As we collect more data from wearables, DNA, environmental factors and other health factors, we’re going to see an exponential increase in data. To make that data actionable for clinicians, the industry will continue to see interoperability as the key ingredient to foster the seamless flow of data across the enterprise in a secure environment, enabling analytics and actionable intelligence to help improve patient care.
  1. Smarter technology will ease the cognitive load on clinicians. We’re living in an era where every major consumer technology brand has their own “Siri” or “Cortana” to serve as our own virtual assistant, reminding us of appointments, researching weather patterns and answering questions about the ratio of pints to gallons. This kind of technology will make a big impact in healthcare in 2016, giving clinicians the data and insights they need, right when they need it. Clinicians are constantly juggling increasing amounts of information, so technology that can filter out what’s important (and what’s just noise) will allow them to do their jobs more efficiently and confidently.

Next week, I’ll share some additional predictions on what’s ahead for providers. In the meantime, share your ideas, predictions, hopes and fears for 2016 with me via Twitter: @PerfectServeCEO

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