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Mobile, Analytics Lead Health IT Trends

Researchers say healthcare providers and insurers will invest heavily in business intelligence tools, wireless technologies, and cloud computing in 2011.

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Insurance companies and physicians face many challenges in 2011 as new models of care emerge, machine-to-machine transmission of health data increases, more business intelligence tools to analyze health data are used, and the adoption rates for mobile health devices grows.

Published last month, the IDC Health Insights report, "U.S. Connected Health IT 2011 Top 10 Predictions: The Evolving IT Landscape for Payers and Providers," identifies several major trends that will impact the payer and provider IT landscape this year. Among the trends noted in the report are the emergence of new care and reimbursement models and the expanded use of wireless networks to transmit health information from personal monitoring devices.

The report predicts a rise in the use of cloud computing solutions to manage health information, and said social networking sites will be utilized more frequently as customers search for health information and connect with others who face similar health challenges.

In addition to the challenges that will arise from the accelerated use of different types of technologies in healthcare, providers and payers will face transformative changes to care delivery and business models that respond to mandates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which accelerates the adoption of health IT, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010.

Under the PPACA, which encourages the use of connected health IT services and technologies to help patients manage their care, IDC said the PPACA will create new care delivery and reimbursement models, such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), that will be focused on reimbursing for care coordination and improvements to patient outcomes.

"In early 2011, providers and payers will focus on ACO planning, with execution beginning in late 2011 and 2012. Payers will invest first in clinical decision support and business intelligence tools to provide actionable information and alerts to clinicians and consumers. The next wave of care management IT investments will focus on connected healthcare (e.g., multiple channels and health information exchanges)," the report said.

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