Once again, a new year, and as a sales leader trying to skate to where the puck will be, here are some predictions on where healthcare IT for providers is headed – based on trends, recent news and consensus from thought leaders: (of course, the normal caveats of a Presidential election year apply)
- Providers will get out of managing data centers: At least, the rate of data centers changing hands will increase. With the infrastructure being commoditized by major cloud vendors like Amazon, value-added services around migration, security and support of legacy applications through the cloud will be the diffrentiators. There will be new entrants in this area – for example, the recent acquisition and lease back of Mayo Clinic’s data center by Epic. I would not be surprised to see venture funds and pure play financing companies partnering with IT Outsourcing (ITO) companies to accelerate this play.
- Rise of consumerism leads to technology investments: The connected consumer is making their presence felt in healthcare as well – both increasing the amount of data being generated, as well as expectations of access to the data by the patient. Increased inter-device connectivity because of stabilization of IoT standards and widespread usage of personal health devices/apps will generate data which has to be acquired, managed and analyzed securely – which following #1 above, provides more opportunities to technology vendors.
- Population Health Management (PHM) becomes mainstream – despite several flavors of population health being promoted for the last several years, a recent study cited only 25% of the providers using a vendor-provided PHM solution. The new focus of Personalized Medicine will be towards automated PHM solutions, leading to use of genomics data for preventative treatments.
- Changing payment methods create new needs for revenue recognition and distribution: As the movement towards Value Based Payments accelerates, payment per episode will needs new financial modeling and analysis by providers (for example the Bundled Payments for Care Improvements by CMS has four different methods of calculating payments). A renewed spotlight on Fraud, Waste and Abuse (FWA) in the payments process will yield new savings – leading to more investments in predictive analytics.
- Apps and APIs will create paradigm shifts: Automated apps to tap into the trasactional data in EHRs are already evolving, but the more exciting focus will be on Open APIs in healthcare. One of the requirements of Meaningful Use (MU) is that by 2018, patients should be able to access their health information through an API using an application of their choice. This will force the EHR vendors to be more interoperable and lead to a new set of application developers offering these services to the consumers securely.
For more of my thoughts, please follow me at @RajBhandariDFW