Cybersecurity is not just for financial organizations or big business anymore. It has become clear that security is and should be a high priority for healthcare organizations and the healthcare software development companies. The desire to collect and better understand mountains of untapped data is on the rise but with this comes the requirement to secure it. And the necessity to start improving the health not just of patients but of whole populations is being taken quite seriously.
These are some of the conclusions from “2017: The Year Ahead in Health IT,” a new survey of healthcare organizations from Healthcare IT News. We polled 95 healthcare executives in October 2016.
Asked which technologies they are planning to upgrade in 2017, 52 percent of survey respondents said security, 51 percent analytics, 44 percent patient engagement, 44 percent population health, 31 percent EHRs, 24 percent remote patient monitoring, and 22 percent revenue cycle management.52%– Security
– 44%–Patient Engagement
– 44%–Population Health
– 24%–Remote Patient Monitoring
– 22%–Revenue Cycle Management
As noted in the list above, security is definitely the most critical challenge in healthcare today. Being in an age where technology is an integral part of healthcare, security has become one of the most critical aspects of healthcare. Analytics is the next key focus area, investing in some of the Big Data platforms to make the most of the data available and create strategies for the trends that are exposed including patterns of care, and patterns of illness. This will help satisfy the needs of population health and some MACRA requirements.
Emerging Technologies and Healthcare Organizations go hand-in-hand
2017 will also see the emerging of technologies at many healthcare organizations. The survey showed that most organizations believe that analytics are a beneficial component of their data strategies.
2017 is poised to be a boom in healthcare technologies across the spectrum of healthcare organizations no matter the size. Asked which technologies they plan to introduce or investigate in 2017, 45 percent of survey respondents said analytics, 45 percent workflow improvement, 44 percent telehealth, 41 percent population health, 41 percent smart medical devices, 34 percent remote patient monitoring, and 21 percent precision medicine. Although these do not seem to be reflected in the technologies chart, they are high on the list of areas that healthcare needs to be investigating.
Telehealth is the Emerging Technology to Watch!
“What stands out here is the increasing importance of telehealth as a different form of access as well as a different form of connecting with consumers,” said Brian Kalis, managing director of the health practice at research and consulting firm Accenture. “Seeing telehealth with increased importance can help address labor productivity challenges in healthcare.”
As with previous years, 2017 will be no different with healthcare organizations working on their electronic health records. But the priorities for 2017 are unique to the time. Asked which types of EHR development projects are or will be in the works within their enterprises in 2017, 60 percent of survey respondents said improving interoperability, 55 percent improving workflow, 47 percent improving usability, 37 percent adding population health tools to the EHR, 28 percent migrating to the cloud, 24 percent performing a major EHR system upgrade, and 21 percent replacing the EHR at one or more sites.
– 60% will make Interoperability improvements to their EHRs
– 55% will make workflow improvements a prioritiy in their EHRs
– 37% will make Population Health their EHR upgrade priority
– 28% will continue to make Cloud migration their priority
– 24% will performing a Major upgrade to their EHR system
– 21% will be working on replacing their EHR throughout their organization
How will MACRA change Healthcare IT Priorities?
An evolution of healthcare data collection and use is happening today, MIPS and MACRA will help usher in a realignment of incentives where doctors are paid for wellness and quality as opposed to quantity. Collecting data across the population will be the top priority to help ensure expenses are controlled, quality is enhanced and workflow is improved. Unfortunately, most EHRs were put in for basic data collection without the enhanced capabilities of exchange and interoperability. Payment reform will give the latest incentives to increase data exchange and analytics.
Top focus areas for 2017 are technology and feature upgrades to EHRs, security, and expanded analytics to gain the benefits of the newest federal requirements. Are you and your software partner ready to make the most of this opportunity?