2013 is upon us. With a new year comes new beginnings and new resolutions, and the world of health information technology is not exempt. Last year brought many advancements (Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, the increase of mobile health devices) as well as many challenges (EHR compliance restrictions, EHR security issues) to H.I.T. professionals nationwide. 2013 will be no different as healthcare organizations and the government both strive to improve the quality of patient care with the use of technology. Here are a few things that are sure to be at the forefront of H.I.T.
1. Meaningful Use
It is something that we have gone into great detail about in the past, but “yes,” Meaningful Use is here to stay for 2013…and beyond. With Stage 2 underway and Stage 3 right around the corner, hospitals and physician practices must continue to meet the guidelines dictated by these mandates or risk losing out on substantial incentive payments. In addition, the recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General that criticized CMS for failing to confirm information reported by hospitals and physician practices prior to awarding payments will likely spur further audits and tighter regulation of compliance. Furthermore, with more than 600 EHR vendors for facilities to currently choose from, expect some of these to fall off the radar in 2013, as the smaller companies will not be able to keep up with the demands of Stage 3 and beyond.
The increase of EHR adoption is a wonderful thing which means better patient care and easier access to pertinent records for physicians. However, all of these records also mean a vast increase in the amount of data healthcare professionals are dealing with. This can be a challenging issue when it comes to security and storage, however it can also be a promising thing when looking to data analytics. Once H.I.T. leaders wrap their heads around reporting tools and data analysis features, there is an immense opportunity to make great strides in population health management and uncover trends and relationships that were never seen before. Hospitals are realizing this potential. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that almost half of the providers surveyed plan to add technical analysts in the next two years and 35% plan to hire more clinical informaticists. There is a hiring priority to find I.T. professionals with big data experience. If you are one of those people, you may find yourself sitting in a desirable seat.
3. Mobile Devices/ BYOD
We have recently reviewed mobile devices, and many industry experts would back up the assumption that mobile EHRs through smartphones and tablets will continue to become more widespread this year. Physicians enjoy the portability and immediate access these devices offer and patients benefit from more accurate care and in some cases, more face time with their doctors. However, with not all healthcare facilities equipped to provide their staff with these devices, expect an increase in BYOD (bring your own device) amongst caregivers. Physicians may prefer working on their own devices that they know and like, but this opens up a whole new set of security challenges for H.I.T. staff. Beyond the physician perspective, expect more patient engagement with their electronic records and health information through apps and health portals.
4. Cloud Storage
Both the prevalence of big data and mobile devices can contribute to a shift towards cloud storage. Big data may make it necessary for some facilities to use cloud-based platforms because they simply can’t house the amount of information on their own server. In addition, using mobile devices may create security issues where it is safer to access information through a cloud versus tapping into information stored on a personal device. Either way, expect more attention to be paid to health I.T. clouds.
5. Patient Engagement
With so much information at their fingertips through iPhones, iPads, Androids, etc., it was only a matter of time before patients began demanding more access to health information. Whether it comes in the form of an actual health record, tracking from an app (exp. blood pressure or weight), or simply research obtained by one of the many health related websites, patients are more knowledgeable and accordingly will begin to play a more active role in their care. This will shape the design of EHR platforms to meet consumers’ needs and is also likely to affect physician/patient interaction as patients are equipped with more questions and more requests.
It is impossible to predict everything that will happen in the H.I.T. world in 2013, but we are sure to see some exciting advances. EHRs are evolving every day with the righteous goal of creating the healthiest and most informed patients possible.
Health Information Technology Jobs and Health Information Technology Consulting
Excite Health Partners is pleased to provide electronic medical records services to healthcare organizations nationwide, including Meaningful Use and EMR consulting. Contact us online to learn more about our solutions or call us at 877-803-5804. Looking for an H.I.T. job in the New Year? Excite offers sought after positions to professionals across the country. Contact us online to learn more about our solutions or call us at 877-803-5804.