It’s hard to believe we are already closing out another year! With 2014 upon us, I took some time to reflect on what progress the healthcare industry made in 2013, and to contemplate what’s to come in the year ahead. This year, we saw increased investment in technologies to support gains in the efficiency and quality of patient care, and I really think that 2014 will be a year of continued evolution, especially in the following areas:
- Mobility is changing the game: We’ve seen a rapid increase in the number of clinicians using mobile devices to communicate with one another about patient care. In 2013, we also saw a rapid explosion of “novelty” applications – those that solve only a piece of the larger issues clinicians face in their day-to-day work but fail to gain any traction. In 2014, I think we’ll begin to move beyond many of these over-hyped point solutions and see applications that more effectively and holistically address real-world clinical problems.
- Clinical integration is on the rise: Over the past few years, we’ve seen hospitals and health systems acquire a large number of physician practices. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, ACOs, Patient Centered Medical Homes and narrow provider networks, a strong physician alignment and clinical integration strategy will be increasingly critical to a health system’s success and growth. Solution providers with technologies that enable physicians to take the lead on quality and cost will win big in the coming year.
- To the cloud!: With the advent of population health and a growing need to connect interdependent clinicians in interdependent organizations, integrated cloud-based technologies will be required to manage patients once they leave the hospital walls. The mobility movement has a lot to do with this shift, and as patients join the movement – using mobile applications to communicate with clinicians and manage their own health – this trend will only continue in the coming year. This is rightfully so, as there are so many things that can be done more efficiently via the cloud than by interconnecting disparate legacy systems could ever enable.
- A holistic (and realistic) view of HIPAA compliance: When the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule was issued in 2013, there was a significant amount of industry buzz around HIPAA-compliant applications or technology solutions. However, as I’ve said many times before, there is no such thing as a HIPAA-compliant app. My hope and prediction for 2014 is that we’ll see providers looking more holistically at the HIPAA law and realizing that it’s more about the policies and procedures you have in place than it is about the technologies you’ve implemented.
Now that I’ve shed light on my 2014 predictions, what do you think we’ll see in the industry in the coming year?