The past year was a year of change for the healthcare industry. From the news by late 2016 about how a staggering 95% of US hospitals have participated in Medicare EHR Incentive Program to the ever-increasing cyber-attacks on hospitals systems to CMS rolling out new regulations and rules to further the industry’s transition from fee-for-service-based to a value-based payment model.*
What changes will happen in the industry this year around? The first month of a year is the best time to ponder that question.
Here are 5 trends that we think will create ripples in 2017.
1. Blockchain Will Be Put to Work
Blockchain made a lot of noise last year. So what is blockchain? And, how does it work?
A blockchain is a distributed database that can store any values without repetition even after multiple updates. It stores information in blocks (in databases called records) and each block will have timestamp and link to a previous block.
For example, every time a transaction is made, the transaction data/information will be stored in a new block rather than updating an existing information, and the new block is added to the existing blocks forming a blockchain.
Basically, once data is created, it cannot be altered. The system will encrypt all the data stored and it is impossible for hackers to break into the system.
2. Healthcare Consumerism is on the Rise
Patients fund their health care expenses. Patients’ nowadays act as real consumers and seek for high-quality service for the cost incurred. Earlier patients were pressurized with large deductibles and it turned the table towards hospital providers to provide better care.
The rise in consumerism also increases the digital transformation in healthcare. Patients are now demanding the type of service quality that they are familiar with from other industries. Though digital push rises the care cost, it improves the patient’s engagement levels. The investment made in technology will enhance the digital consumer experience by making it more viable.
3. Telehealth to Serve More
Value-based and patient-centered care has providers’ attention on telehealth technologies. Telehealth service has drastically reduced the readmission rate and the cost of Chronic Care Management.
In addition to that, it has also improved communication after patients are discharged. “The number of Americans receiving virtual medical care is forecast to double, from 15 million in 2016 to 30 million in 2017”, according to American Telemedicine Association.
4. Cloud to Get More Attention
Data storage is still an unsolved puzzle for many providers. Though some opted cloud to improve practice management there were a lot of security concerns. Despite all, most accelerated technology investment of healthcare is expected to be made on Cloud in 2017.
“It wasn’t too long ago that people were skeptical of cloud computing, but today, over 83 percent of healthcare organizations are using cloud technology, according to a HIMSS Analytics Cloud Survey,” says Morris Panner, CEO of Ambra Health.
It is also estimated that the health cloud computing market will grow to 9.48 Billion dollars by 2020, a new report from MarketsandMarkets.
5. Cognitive Computer with Ease Process
The process of healthcare transformation is increasing the number of tasks performed. In the coming years, much time will be spent on understanding and finding ways to leverage the advanced computing system to better the clinical operations. Cognitive computers ease the process of analyzing the unstructured pattern of data.
For example, IBM cognitive machine surfaces insights by analyzing masses of data- personal, medical, practical, pharmaceutical, etc. Adapting such innovative technology in healthcare helps hospitals function more effectively.
Healthcare always strives to deliver good quality of service at lower costs by including technology elements such as telemedicine, cloud, analytics, cyber security, remote patient monitoring and also by trying out newer technology solutions to bring out the better outcome.
* “Hospitals Participating in the CMS EHR Incentive Programs”- dashboard.healthit.gov
* “Ransomware: See the 14 hospitals attacked so far in 2016”- http://www.healthcareitnews.com