Healthcare IT has undergone dramatic transformations since the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act was passed in 2009. Thousands of hospitals and ambulatory service centers have implemented and institutionalized electronic medical record (EMR) systems, and other strong technologies are sure to follow.
With quality healthcare reporting incentive programs like Shared Savings and Meaningful Use, hospitals are now using their EMR systems to improve quality and derive actionable intelligence. Digitization (and anonymization) of health records allows this data to be mined for predictive trends using statistical modeling tools and predictive analytics. From predicting the patient’s risk of readmission to the probability of the patient keeping appointments, predictive analytics have wide applications in healthcare. Many hospitals like Mt. Sinai in New York are working on projects to integrate their EMR data with predictive analytics tool.
Mobile and Telehealth
Use of telecommunications in delivery of healthcare services is increasing because it offers tremendous flexibility and allows physicians to multitask. Key use cases include:
- Medical image sharing
- Remote patient monitoring
- Healthcare services exchange via videoconferencing
- Mobile EMRs
According to a CDW healthcare survey, around 81% of providers plan to make future investments in telehealth products. This is one trend to look out for.
As former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. Farzad Mostashari puts it, “Patient engagement is the blockbuster drug of the century.”
Interoperable patient portals and informative mHealth apps are engaging patients in their own healthcare —and improving outcomes. Patients want access to information and tools that enable them to take such ownership. The constructive dialogue between the patient and provider improves the quality of care, and will likely reduce the cost of healthcare.
Data Security and Cloud-Based Systems
Personal health information (PHI) security was marred in 2013 by lost pen drives at Kaiser Permanente, and stolen laptops at Advocate Healthcare and unwarranted access of information by employees.
These breaches resulted in fines of up to $150,000 and affected almost 200,000 people. According to HHS.gov, around 46% of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) breaches are due to loss or theft of physical assets. There is no doubt security will be emphasized in 2014. Adoption of cloud-based systems will be a priority as physical devices are proving to be a liability.
HIPAA also stipulates that business associates—such as cloud service providers—must comply with disclosure, handling, and use of PHI, and therefore provide accountability. The focus of the industry is shifting from mere compliance to comprehensive IT risk management, including comprehensive audits, security standards, and monitoring systems.
Explore our Integration Maturity Model to learn more about how integration can shape healthcare