Might healthcare learn a thing or two from research firm Gartner’s top strategic technology trends? Fresh off the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 held in Orlando where tens of thousands of IT executives gathered, Forbes magazine offers up the following from the research giant:
Mobile Device Diversity and Management
“Gartner suggests that now through 2018, a variety of devices, user contexts and interaction paradigms will make ‘everything everywhere’ strategies unachievable. The unintended consequence of bring your own device (BYOD) programs has been to render much more complex (by two or three times, Gartner estimates) the size of the mobile workforce, straining both the information technology and the finance organizations. It is recommended that companies better define expectations for employee-owned hardware to balance flexibility with confidentiality and privacy requirements.”
Even the world of healthcare will not miss out on MDM as workforces become more mobile. In addition to infrastructure needs, practices will need BYOD policy and MDM solutions to help them protect and manage their data.
Mobile Apps and Applications
In healthcare, this will prove highly important as patient engagement takes center stage and physicians seek opportunities to more fully engage their clients.
The Internet of Everything
The Internet is expanding into enterprise assets and consumer items such as cars and televisions. The problem is that most enterprises and technology vendors have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready. Gartner identifies four basic usage models that are emerging:
These can be applied to people, things, information, and places, and therefore the so called “Internet of Things” will be succeeded by the “Internet of Everything.”
Healthcare will not be left out of this movement as services and consultation moves to the web. Practice leaders will likely have to figure out how to get on board.
Hybrid Cloud and IT as Service Broker
Gartner suggests that bringing together personal clouds and external private cloud services is essential. Enterprises should design private cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future integration/interoperability is possible. Early hybrid cloud services will likely be more static, engineered compositions, and Gartner suggests that more deployment compositions will emerge as cloud service brokerages evolve.
The Era of Personal Cloud
“The push for more personal cloud technologies will lead to a shift toward services and away from devices. The type of device one has will be less important, as the personal cloud takes over some of the role that the device has traditionally had with multiple devices accessing the personal cloud.” Likely, devices will serve simply as portals to access of information in the cloud.
For healthcare, this could potentially lead to the beginning of true interoperable systems in which information is shareable and transferrable outside of a restricted electronic health record.
Software Defined Anything
“Software-defined anything (SDx) is defined by ‘improved standards for infrastructure programmability and data center interoperability driven by automation inherent to cloud computing, DevOps and fast infrastructure provisioning.’ Dominant vendors in a given sector of an infrastructure-type may elect not to follow standards that increase competition and lower margins, but end-customer will benefit from simplicity, cost reduction opportunities, and the possibility for consolidation.”
Healthcare vendors choosing to do so will likely be those that truly become players in the space and breaking the stagnation currently occupying the market.
Gartner suggests that the “the smart machine era will be the most disruptive in the history of IT.” These will include the proliferation of:
- contextually aware, intelligent personal assistants
- smart advisors (e.g., IBMWatson)
- advanced global industrial systems
- autonomous vehicles
Gartner also projects that smart machines will strengthen the forces of consumerization after enterprise buying commences in earnest.
If nothing more, these observations are worth taking note of; however, on the other hand, all of these points may be leverage to move health IT forward.