Health IT Trends For 2020: Some Thoughts From Leaders

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Kristin Simonini, vice president of product, Applause

Healthcare has long been looked at as a laggard when it comes to adopting digital services. Part of that is due to the stringent regulations of the industry and the sensitivity surrounding personally identifiable information. Part of the blame, however, falls on healthcare providers themselves. As more and more providers in the industry start to embrace digital innovation, a number of key trends emerged over the past decade including:

Healthcare’s focus on patient experience means bringing a critical eye to current digital experiences. Ease-of-use and inclusivity must be considered in order to ensure high-quality digital experiences across all touchpoints, particularly on smartwatches, tablets, and smart speakers

In terms of predictions for 2020, we expect use of voice technology will continue to grow and will empower the healthcare industry in new ways, including supporting patients. The benefits that voice brings to healthcare can be seen in medical record transcriptions, chatbots sharing the work, sharing knowledge, voice-user interface, and connecting clinics to customers.

In addition, AI will continue to impact the healthcare industry in numerous ways. As healthcare embraces AI, it will also need to address issues of bias. All types of AI – from virtual assistants learning how different users ask for the same thing, to healthcare apps identifying potential health issues from uploaded photos – have been hampered by the same challenge: sourcing enough data to teach the machine how to interpret and respond, and then testing the output at scale to ensure the results are accurate and human-like when necessary. To mitigate bias concerns, healthcare will need to make AI more representative of patients

Scott Hampel, president, MedeAnalytics

Today, healthcare payers and providers are spending nearly $30 billion every year on analytics and using over 415 different vendors for their analytics needs. This is a tremendous waste of resources and time. We’ll see an accelerating trend toward converged analytics solutions that cross clinical, financial and operational boundaries to enterprise analytics solutions.

Enterprise analytics will dramatically increase the speed and efficacy of population health programs because when you have both fresh claims-based data and clinical analytics you can diagnosis, intervene and engage in care management programs far faster and with much greater confidence in the data and results. This is where healthcare will be moving in 2020.

Patrick Gauthier, director, AHP Healthcare Solutions

In the year ahead the health care sector is going to continue to see investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. That dimension of innovation in hi-tech will continue to evolve and emerge and markets will slowly open and mature.

I believe health information exchange or HIE – once known to most of us as regional health information organizations or RHIOs – will be back in vogue. What began more than a decade ago went underground for a while but ACOs and other initiatives have resurrected HIE infrastructure and made it abundantly clear that HIE is vital to care coordination, outcomes and value-based reimbursement (VBR). All-provider clinical messaging, outcomes measure, quality assurance, transitions in care, cost and utilization management, and referral management absolutely must be supported by HIE infrastructure.

Biometrics will continue their spread and companies such as Apple and Google (for better or for worse) are making it clear they see the future and are investing accordingly.

Lastly, population health management platforms that enable functions like risk stratification will see tremendous growth.

Tim O’Malley, president and chief growth officer, EarlySense

Technology advancements over the past decade have enabled us to accurately track millions of physiological patient parameters in real time. As we head into 2020, the industry will continue to leverage the incredible power of AI-driven “smart data” and analytics to not only predict potential adverse patient events, but also prevent them.

Patient care will continue to become even more personalized and new standards for patient safety will emerge. Predictive analytics will be used across the continuum of care- from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities and homes- to support health staff and patients, improving clinical outcomes while also creating a potential for significant financial savings.

Omri Shor, CEO and Co-Founder, Medisafe

In the coming year, the health IT industry will need to emphasize technologies that incorporate patients more actively in their own care. It is time to further integrate digital channel solutions to connect patients, and their self-generated data, into delivery models. While there is an abundance of data in healthcare currently, significant gaps of data capture remain across the continuum. Tapping into behavioral data sourced from patients in their everyday lives has the potential to fill in those gaps. Digital therapeutic companions are the key to incorporating valuable patient data and improving healthcare delivery.

Joel Klein, MD, senior vice president and interim CIO, University of Maryland Medical System

Machine learning is a huge part of the next several years’ work in healthcare.  We’ve amassed enough data at this point to be well-positioned to develop algorithms that help us prioritize our efforts for case management, medication reviews, transportation assistance, and other kinds of high-risk mitigations, not to mention predicting which patients are at the highest risk for various conditions.  The challenge is how we build those tools, validate that they are free from inappropriate bias, train our staff on how these tools work and how to think about them, and then get the tools integrated into our usual, regular workflows.

Direct patient involvement in the electronic medical record is a huge opportunity for every aspect of what we do.  That means setting the expectation that patients won’t just review their address and phone numbers for mistakes, but their medication list and allergies too.  It’s not just picking out appointments they’d prefer; it’s actually looking at their chart, reading their notes, and understanding how their caregivers are actually describing their condition. And it means finding better ways to screen large numbers of people for intervention-worthy conditions like suicide, food scarcity, fluid overload, or postoperative wound infections.  None of this is complicated technology – it’s more leading our organizations to use our currently available tools in creative, high-value ways.

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