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5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013

Look for growth in mobile health, telemedicine, clinical analytics, and personal health records—and an EHR vendor shakeout.

11 Healthcare-Focused Business Intelligence Tools
11 Healthcare-Focused Business Intelligence Tools
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Telemedicine. Several large healthcare systems have established relationships with telemed companies. American Well, for instance, recently teamed up with Tampa-based University of Southern Florida Health to provide telehealth services to residents of The Villages, a large retirement community northwest of Orlando. The company has also partnered with Allscripts to integrate telehealth functionality into patients' EHRs. The system is being piloted at USF Health, and the EHR vendor plans to expand it to selected customers nationwide in January, 2013.

Finally Sentara Healthcare, a large healthcare system with locations across Virginia, has struck a deal with MDLIVE, a Sunrise, Fla.-based firm, to provide physicians with telephone and online video consults with patients in Virginia and to serve as a referral network for patients who need to be seen in person.

EHR vendor shakeout. Healthcare providers have more than 600 certified EHR systems to choose from if they want to qualify for Meaningful Use financial incentives. It's likely many of these vendors won't survive 2013 for several reasons. Some smaller companies have jumped into the market too quickly, hoping to get a quick return on their investment without making much of an investment to begin with.

At a recent InformationWeek Healthcare Virtual Event, Mark Wagner, senior research director at KLAS, explained that EHR vendors are so busy selling systems that they barely have time to support the ones they've installed, much less create a platform that meets all of a provider's needs. That kind of over commitment is sure to build resentment and a bad reputation among hospitals and practices with little or no internal IT support staff. The resulting winnowing process may put some EHR vendors out of business, but the surviving companies will likely offer services that ultimately improve patient care.

[ Technology can't solve all problems. Read When Medical Informatics Clashes With Medical Culture. ]

Clinical Analytics Most EHR systems fall short when it comes to heavy duty analytics. Many can generate simple reports but that's just not enough to meet the demands placed upon providers to meet various government mandates on interoperability and clinical performance. And providers are starting to see that EHRs by themselves have limited potential.

"In the clinical space, there was a belief that if you put in an EHR, all your problems of interoperability would go away," according to John Edwards, a director at PwC, commenting on one of their recent surveys. "There is evidence in the survey that providers were realizing that the 'silver bullet' of EHRs needed to be enhanced with clinical informatics people."

Close to half of providers expect to add technical analysts in the next two years, while 35% will hire additional clinical informaticists, according to the survey. Some 70% of insurance companies will boost staffing on the technical side of clinical analytics and 30% will add informaticists.

Similarly a recent report from Frost and Sullivan says hospitals will soon see a significant increase in the use of analytics tools. Their latest figures show that while only 10% of U.S. hospitals implemented health data analytics tools in 2011, that number will grow to approximately 50% adoption in 2016.

It's unlikely the healthcare industry is going out of business any time soon, no matter how effective it becomes at delivering patient care. But by the same token, developments in all five IT hot spots suggest we're moving in the right direction.

This article will also appear on the HIMSS website on September 10 as part of their celebration of National Health IT Week. More details are available here.

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Dick Weltz
Dick Weltz,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/13/2013 | 9:51:30 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013
The generalization made in the first paragraph makes no sense. Many conditions requiring medical/surgical care are not preventable, e.g. cataracts, accidental injuries, etc. And many conditions requite increasingly difficult and skilled care, e.g. robotic surgery, stem cell growth to replace organs/tissue. So diseases and the need for costly care are not disappearing any time soon, as the writer would have us think.
User Rank: Apprentice
10/4/2012 | 2:34:19 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013

I agree with 4 out of 5 of your trends for 2013. I think your take on the EHR vendor shake out will not come to pass. Indeed, MU rule changes in August have opened the door for more vendors to participate.

Changes in rules and requirements for EHR vendors to achieve meaningful use certification have been relaxed to allow "innovation" from point solution vendors who need now only to address a portion of the many MU requirements for EHR certification. For example, a vendor who can demonstrate "data portability" between EHR solutions can be certified.

The changes are an admission by the HITECH MU rules creators that EHR vendor interoperability is woefully inadequate and solutions developed outside the healthcare industry could be used to provide a modicum of data governance - which is sorely lacking in healthcare IT today.

The MU committee, in its August report estimates as many as 600 vendors could address the data portability requirement alone. You should expect to see many more vendors entering the space not fewer.
Dana Tee
Dana Tee,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/1/2012 | 6:32:54 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013

Good list of predictions here. From a patient perspective I believe health IT is about giving people the tools they need to take charge of their own health. I predict 2013 will be the year patients ask, "where's my data?" Now institutions need to figure out what kind of technology will help to meet this need. This blog by DICOM Grid talks about the future of health IT and elaborates on my point.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/6/2012 | 3:26:06 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013
Actually, the ones that will survive will be just like every other successful business. They will lead the market, create satisfied customers, and manage their financial health. Mobile is a given. However, Telemedicine and PHRs are still considered by many to play a secondary role to what is important right now... and that includes getting a practice onto a pragmatic and sustainable platform, become all electronic, and link up with equipment, labs, payers, other providers/groups, and patients via secure methods of communication.

Telemedicine is arguably a separate business model. Patient Health Records are driven entirely by the desire of the patient to use it, not by the fact that it exists as a technology.
User Rank: Apprentice
9/2/2012 | 10:19:03 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013
My best guess is that the EHR vendors who can best coordinate their mobile, telemedicine, and PHR offerings will be the ones best suited to survive the EHR vendor war. It's amazing how much easier it is to implement an EHR utilizing iPads/iPhones with physicians, it gives them something to look forward to.
Jay Simmons
Information Week Contributor
Leo Regulus
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/27/2012 | 5:08:24 PM
re: 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013
You have made some client-unfriendly changes.
When we hit the 'Print' Icon, we expect to see the entire article as one page and relatively 'free' of garbage.
On this article, it was necessary to go to page 2 to get the whole article.
The result was also littered with garbage.
I will not insult your intelligence by specifically what I define as 'garbage'.
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