Anyone who walked around the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS19) show in February saw some distinct themes in Healthcare IT emerging. Healthcare IT is forward-looking, futuristic, full of possibility and global.
Each year, thousands of healthcare professionals, clinicians, executives and others descend on HIMSS in search of innovation, emerging technology, insights, best practices and new applications that can be applied in the constant strive toward better health, patient engagement, patient care and of course, security of patient data.
Keep reading for a breakdown of what’s hot, what’s emerging, what’s top of mind– and what’s full speed ahead.
Faster speeds, widespread connectivity and near-real-time networks will be a turning point for the Healthcare industry. Given the degree to which healthcare is adopting IoT capabilities such as wearable, trackable devices and sensor-driven medical devices, large data in near real time will be used to improve patient care and boost efficiency.
Not limited solely to the exchange of data, Interoperability is also about how to make data consumption easier and more usable in practical, meaningful ways. You can have all the connectivity in the world but if you’re not able to deliver information into the clinical workflow of those who need it or would use it, then you shouldn’t even bother.
While Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been top of mind for most healthcare executives for some time, it has finally found its way into many applications, from patient-facing and imaging to advanced analytics. AI has improved the healthcare experience by introducing new, intelligent ways to use data, and has differentiated automation from human touch.
Cybersecurity remains a major priority, particularly as organizations expand system access to third-party vendors, patients, auditors and others. As hospitals offer more to their patients by making investments in things such as online medical records, or wearable, trackable devices, the number of areas that require attention to security is rapidly increasing. Unfortunately, threats are not only introduced from points outside the system anymore. Throughout 2018, the security of medical devices has worsened as remote access for employees of healthcare systems has increased, (including through mobile devices), putting patient and other data at a greater risk.
Blockchain promises to secure patient data, improve supply chain, solve interoperability issues and transform electronic health records. Imagine a platform that will make it easy to securely transfer data between an insurance company and a health system (which may improve claims adjudication).
Healthcare, as an industry, has been somewhat resistant to fully embrace the possibilities of Cloud technology. While the reasons for this lag could vary, including security concerns or infrastructures that are simply not ready to support it, by 2022 most healthcare organizations will begin moving the majority of applications and infrastructure over to the cloud, leaving <20% on premises.
Many healthcare organizations have turned to digital transformation to increase patient engagement and enhance their experience.. Examples include developing applications to help patients find a destination within a hospital, pay their bill, schedule appointments or even engage in a video telehealth visit. During a new age of healthcare consumerism, engaging patients in their own healthcare by personalizing the experience is a strategic initiative for healthcare executives.
Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are making a big push into several areas of patient care, including surgical specialty. VR systems can be used to combine radiological scans from MRIs, CTs and X-Rays into 3D constructs that surgeons can use to improve communication and procedural understanding with the patient. Surgeons can then use the system in the surgical suite to review their surgical plan and, using augmented reality functions, overlay the virtual image in time and space with the surgical instruments to synchronize their activities when the camera becomes occluded, reducing complications.
Cloud-based solutions that integrate with clinical workflows and documentation provide improved experiences for both patient and provider. The technology improvements will have a significant benefit for patients without access to high speed internet connections by providing them with access to virtual visits. The improved integration into the clinical workflow will have a positive impact on the care givers and reduce the frustration felt by many due to documentation and poor video connections.
We interact with connected devices in many forms, from vending machines that accept credit cards and smart lights to thermostats in our homes and fitness trackers. Each of these connected devices is part of an ecosystem called the Internet of Things, or IoT.
In our healthcare environments, the IoT devices take on special duties, transferring physiological information from connected medical devices such as EKG machines, IV pumps and other radiological devices like portable X-Ray machines.
Digital transformation is shaking things up for healthcare CIOs. The role of the CIO will be changing from managing IT infrastructure and purchasing decisions to that of a strategic business partner, equally committed to protecting patient data and improving patient experience. Here’s to the future of healthcare!