“What will this year bring?”
It’s a common question we ask ourselves and each other at the beginning of every year. What new medical breakthroughs will happen in 2019? What new phones will be released? What’s going to be the new fashion trend? What movie will sweep the award shows? For many of these, the most we can do on our own is guess. Fortunately, when it comes to health IT, the Health Management Academy (HMA) has found a way to peek into the future.
For the second year, the HMA, working with the Pittsburgh-based Center for Connected Medicine, has released a report containing the top three health IT areas that health system C-suite executives believe will have the most impact in 2019. These areas are cybersecurity, telehealth, and interoperability. The full report (that can be downloaded below) does a deep dive into each area and shares the data collected by the HMA.
When you look at the numbers, there’s no question why health systems have elevated cybersecurity to be a top priority in 2019. According to a study published in JAMA Network in September 2018, the healthcare industry was hit with 2,149 breaches comprised of 176.4 million records between 2010 and 2017. Cyber-attacks have reverberating effects – reputation loss, financial harm, and most damaging: patients becoming vulnerable.
Value-based care models (higher quality care at reduced costs) continue to pick up momentum going into 2019. As health systems explore this topic, one area is shining brightest: telehealth. The ability to provide care in a more convenient setting is something being desired by all parties: doctors, nurses, patients, and caregivers. Telehealth is becoming more accepted and widely available despite the economics involved in offering such services. Telehealth is also opening new forms of data collection, yielding new opportunities for analytics and predictive action.
Top trends don’t always have to be on new products and solutions that no one has ever heard of. This especially rings true on the report’s third impact area of 2019: interoperability. Health system leaders have started to grow comfortable with the idea that interoperability is something that can be achieved. Digitizing health, accelerating the use of AI and machine learning, pressing on towards more cloud-based solutions, and freeing data is driving meaningful change in the area of interoperability. Consumer-focused companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google have now entered the health IT space shaking up norms and opening doors for innovation. The race is on.
As we get further into 2019, we expect to see a lot of action around these three areas. We also hope to find answers to all the questions we have: What new threats will we encounter in cybersecurity? What new barriers will be created to stop them? What new data will make itself available from telehealth? How will we use it? What impact will Big Tech companies have on health systems? How will health systems and consumers respond?