2016: The Shakeup Year for Health IT

Guest post by Robert Williams, MBA/PMP, CEO, goPMO, Inc.

Robert Williams, MBA/PMP
Robert Williams

I continue to view 2016 as a shakeup year in healthcare IT. We’ve spent the last five plus years coming to grips with the new normal of meaningful use, HIPAA and EMR adoption, integrated with the desire to transform the healthcare business model from volume to value. After the billions of dollars spent on electronic health records and hospital/provider acquisitions we see our customers looking around and asking how have we really benefited and what is still left to accomplish.

All politics is local

Our healthcare providers are realizing their clinical applications, specifically EMR vendors, are not going to resolve interoperability by themselves. When the interoperability group, CommonWell formed in 2013 much of the market believed the combination of such significant players (Cerner, Allscripts, McKesson, Athenahealth and others) would utilize their strength to accelerate interoperability across systems. Almost three years late CommonWell only has a dozen pilot sites in operation.

Evolving HL7 standards and a whole generation of software applications are allowing individul hospitals to take the task of interoperability away from traditional clinical applications and creating connectivity themselves.

Help wanted

Black Book’s survey published last month, stated that three out of every four hospitals with more than 300 beds are outsourcing IT solutions. Hospitals have been traditionally understaffed to meet the onslaught of federal requirements. Can they evolve into product deployment organizations as well? Across all the expertise they need within the organization? Most are saying no and searching out specialty services organizations to supplement their existing expertise and staff.

Are you going to eat that?

Patient engagement is on fire right now at the federal level (thank you meaningful use Stage 3), in investment dollars and within the provider
community. But to truly manage hospital re-admissions and select chronic diseases (diabetes, obesity and congestive heart failure for example)
providers need data and trend analysis on daily consumer behavior. The rise of wearable technology and the ability to capture data/analyze data from them will be a major focus going forward. These technologies will likely help to make us healthier but with a bit of big brother side affect.

EHR Revolution 2.0

Healthcare providers no longer remain in full trust of their EHR vendor to be their healthcare support partner across all their challenges and goals
into 2016. Competing applications once thought ancillary to the EHR (bed management, physician rounding, clinical decision support, telemedicine and others) are now standing alone and taking responsibility away from the EHR. If the EHR is truly at it¹s core just a database, future value comes from what’s connected to it.

Mobile Everywhere

The definition of what constitutes the “last mile” of healthcare is rapidly evolving. Mobility solutions now let providers extend the point of care to  virtually anywhere the patient is. Now that we can direct clinical applications, data capture and analysis to a patient device, worn outside the four walls of the hospital, and analyzed by the physician in any location mobile solutions and devices are now the tools of choice to provide continuity of patient care.

Commercialization of Subject Matter Expertise

While the rank and file of hospitals are struggling with resources, a few are realizing their opportunity to productize its subject matter expertise to clinical and financial benefit. One of the best is the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Healthcare systems as both care provider and product development organization points to a significant area of growth for healthcare and a potentially potent competitive factor to existing vendors.

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