Trends in Healthcare Information Technology : 2016

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Healthcare technology is a complex and ever-expanding industry that has a lot going for it. With great power comes great challenges. Let us look at what 2016 has in store for the healthcare information technology sector.

The Possible Ups

● According to various analysts studying trends in healthcare technology advancements, the investments in technology in healthcare will continue to accelerate through 2016 to cope with the increasing consumer needs for quality service on par with what they receive from various other sectors technologically ahead.

● The enthusiasm around digital wearables (patient tracking devices) and data handling technology is likely to stay on its current high given how the data acquired through real-time patient tracking can positively impact patient care delivery outcomes and benefit both the patient and the provider. For wearables to become an integral part of care delivery, a lot more research has to be done on how and when and also on reducing cost of acquisition for patients without health insurance. We are a long way from that!

● For long healthcare providers have struggled with data management software that are hard to use and sometimes even border on frustrating. This has increased the demand for user-friendly software designed with user input and this trend will likely continue in 2016.

● The need for expanding the usability of care management records for patients on life-threatening or severe medical conditions may increase. With most of such critical-care patients needing round-the-clock monitoring, providing services between visits may become essential. This will include ensuring that these patients follow specific protocols, highlight deviation in following protocols, keeping specialists in the loop, availability of home care/ long-term care, etc.

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The Challenges:

● Most of the data managed by healthcare service providers are managed independently at multiple levels, i.e, there is no seamless transition of data. This requires the development of comprehensive software that is operable across sections within a hospital and is also between healthcare systems and networks to ensure quality and timely care delivery.

● The need to converge patient data from various sources such as providers, wearables and social media will increase. As the amount of data gets bigger, the need for better software and better handling by providers increases.

● With many possible opportunities, many new players are likely to enter the market without thorough research and with unapproved devices that may be low cost and attractive but not necessarily safe.

● Many mobile medical service provider apps may go off the market as the Federal Trade Commission starts checking their authenticity. Mobile medical applications are being used by an increasing number of patients. Healthcare providers are evaluating how to work with their patients in tapping these apps. As most of these consumer apps lack clinical evidence and many developers may be misleading consumers by overstating their products’ capabilities while exploring the growing demand of such products.

● A growing challenge with increasing use of technology in healthcare will be unproductive clinical staff. As workload is halved, so is the productivity. Constant training of medical and assisting staff in proper usage of technology in achieving a common goal of seamless and quality healthcare delivery will be of prime importance.

● As more healthcare technology startups talk about patient engagement, consumers are likely to become more cautious and weed out the products and services that provide no value.

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● Cyber- attacks are not yet a thing of the past and are not likely to be in 2016 either. With increasing amount of data coming in from various credible and not-so-credible sources, verification of data for its authenticity and tighter security protocols to protect data will help avoiding loss of sensitive patient information and violation of HIPAA laws.

Evidently, the challenges outnumber the possible ups. The healthcare industry has miles to go before it is on par with other sectors with respect to data management and consumer care.[/fusion_text]