The Annual conference of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) was held in Las Vegas from Feb 29th – March 4th. This year saw a huge crowd with upwards of fifty thousand attendees.
The theme of the conference was the changing landscape of Health Care IT. Here are the major trends in Health Care IT:
Big Data and Interoperability:
The compilation of an accurate and complete electronic healthcare record has been a focus of the industry for many years. Compilation of data from a variety of physical locations and technical systems needs to occur for the caregiver to provide the best level of care available. Wearables and mobile technology is providing yet more data that needs to be compiled into the EHR.
The Health Care IT industry has started offering tools to analyze this data and apply analytical methods, statistical models and cognitive technologies to empower caregivers with a 360 degree view of patient information, healthcare data and knowledge. This is done through data integration platforms that are able to exchange and share data. This is leading to a greater precision in the treatment of diseases and an overall improvement of health.
Many major healthcare providers are tapping into the consumer’s dependency of mobile device usage to encourage them to use wearables to track their fitness along with linked mobile apps for sending reminders and follow ups. These apps also incorporate home diagnostic tests that have the potential to save a trip to a doctor’s office. Mobile health is all about connecting fitness trackers to insurance providers, some of which are also giving credits and reimbursements to people for taking better care of themselves.
Privacy and Security:
The future of healthcare is personal noted Thomas Goetz, Iodine CEO and former executive editor of WIRED. Mobile and virtual technology in healthcare are empowering patients. While patients use healthcare systems passively, wearables and smart devices are creating behavioral data and currently such patient generated data is not validated or integrated with the rest of the existing information. Health care data is sensitive and we need better ways of securing it, especially with increasing incidents of data theft and hacking.
Pay for Value – Bringing Payment, Performance and Care Co-ordination together:
One distinct trend that was great to see is the pay for value models that healthcare organizations have started adopting. It makes teams communicate better for co-ordination, resulting in less duplication of tests, better care and reduction of costs. It includes feedback from customers about the quality of health care that they received leading to compensation and rewards for the healthcare organization. This model is even targeting taking care of Population Health through their co-ordination and exchange of information. The challenge, however, lies in having proper infrastructure and standardized business processes to support this, but if it is done well, it can lead to better health for many people.
The era of virtual care is here and going strong as seen by the steady growth in the number of telehealth service providers. Once patients are aware of telehealth, they are more likely to adopt it due to the convenience factor. It has helped in making healthcare more accessible especially with the use of smart phones. While in some cases, telehealth has replaced the conventional doctor visit, in others it has helped in improving engagement with patients. Telehealth has even given rise to ‘empathologists’ who follow up with patients through video conferencing between visits.
Personal view for businesses:
There is no denying the nature of the business has been redefined by digital technologies touching all aspects of our life. Video calling to check up on a patient and using a holistic picture of the patient through various data sources is going to become the norm. There is a shift in the perspective of patients being reactive and using systems only as they need to. They are now taking a more proactive role in their own wellbeing through the use of smart devices. At the crux of it is having the ability to adapt quickly, provide agile solutions to meet patient’s needs, and incorporate behavioral data for better decision making.
As Payton Manning put it, the 3 big challenges leaders face are managing new environments, communication, and what to do to resume business as usual quickly. Great leaders are able to balance these three challenges. Every organization needs to experiment with new ways to compete and win. Ask yourself if you're ready to mothball the old ways of thinking. These lessons are certainly going to be useful to keep up with the changing landscape of the healthcare IT world.
About the Author:
Marnie Larson is the CEO of StarGarden Corporation and oversees its operations in Canada, US and New Zealand. She has over 20 years’ experience in the software industry and specializes in HCM, Business process automation and Workflow technology.