Change is Coming: What to Expect in Health IT in 2015
In 2015, healthcare information technology will continue to drive towards solutions that respond to the industry challenges of providing increased quality of care at a lower cost in a changing regulatory environment. Providers must respond to declining reimbursement models, quality demands of consumers and payers, along with increasing EHR mandates. Payers are striving to align care and cost incentives across both providers and consumers. Consumers are being asked to bear more of the cost of care and in the process are becoming more price sensitive, quality aware, and more personally responsible for their own care.
In support of these goals, the macro-level trends will be on continuing the significant support for Electronic Health Record systems, providing actionable analytics, and improving the infrastructure. For health IT in 2015, these macro-trends will result in a healthcare industry focus on the following areas:
- EHR On-going Upgrades, Enhancements and Support: These costs have become so high and ubiquitous that they are not often regarded as trend, but it is a trend that will continue
- Meaningful Use: Responding to the next level of Meaningful Use requirements and the ability to better respond to Meaningful Use Audits will also be required
- ICD 10 Compliance: Compliance with ICD 10 can be expected to finally arrive in 2015. Investment will be needed to update the systems and develop the more specific reporting that ICD 10 will allow.
- Data Interoperability: Increasing the ability to collect consistent, timely, meaningful and trusted data across diverse sources (e.g., clinical data systems, claims data, operational data) will increase the ability to provide improved quality and lower costs, and the increased data interoperability will be leveraged in systems used by providers, payers and consumers alike.
- Clinical Decision Support: Providers (and Payers) will be driving improvements in evidence-based care, predictive outcomes and risk management
- Operational Decision Support: Operational decision support will be required to provide better insights into care delivery processes, into the total cost of care at a patient and procedure level, into operational costs and into consumer factors affecting the cost of care
- Security: An on-going threat across all industries, maintaining security of Personal Health Information will require increased vigilance. As health information and operational systems become more interconnected the security challenges and risks become exponentially greater.
- Cloud: Data center management need not be a core competency in healthcare. More and more organizations will realize others can better manage their data and systems at a lower cost, and integration between on-premise and cloud-based systems will become more common.
- Patient Portals / Engagement / Mobile User Devices: Payers, providers and consumers have incentives and interests to leverage technologies that will help to better manage consumer health (e.g., chronic conditions, post-acute care, overall wellness, etc.) and associated costs. Personal health monitoring devices are becoming more sophisticated and consumers are largely willing to share this data with their provider.
- Tele-health: Tele-health has the ability to provide more immediate care, especially for those in rural areas and where cost pressures have decreased the availability of more local providers. Tele-health will be see increasing use for non-acute and follow-up appointments.
The one constant in the healthcare industry for the foreseeable future will be change. Supporting that change will be ever more sophisticated technologies that will completely change the provisioning of healthcare as we know it today. The trends above will be realized in different ways and times by different organizations, but all healthcare organizations will need to adapt in order to survive into even the near future.