Health Care IT trends

Look for growth in mobile health, telemedicine, clinical analytics, and personal health records—and EHR (Electronic Health Records) shakeout.

Mobile Health Docs are in love with their iPads, and for good reason. When IT teams were asked “Which mobile computing devices are doctors in your organization using for medical purposes” in InformationWeek Healthcare‘s 2012 Priorities Survey, 66% cited iPads or other tablets, up from 45% just a year earlier. This love affair continues to develop because tablets give them access to EHR data, drug reference materials, and a host of valuable data that in the past was only available in the office or hospital.

Telemedicine. Several large healthcare systems have established relationships with telemed companies. American Well, for instance, recently teamed up with Tampa-based University of Southern Florida Health to provide telehealth services to residents of The Villages, a large retirement community northwest of Orlando.

Clinical Analytics Most EHR systems fall short when it comes to heavy duty analytics. Many can generate simple reports but that’s just not enough to meet the demands placed upon providers to meet various government mandates on interoperability and clinical performance. And providers are starting to see that EHRs by themselves have limited potential.

“In the clinical space, there was a belief that if you put in an EHR, all your problems of interoperability would go away,” according to John Edwards, a director at PwC, commenting on one of their recent surveys.“There is evidence in the survey that providers were realizing that the ‘silver bullet’ of EHRs needed to be enhanced with clinical informatics people.”

Close to half of providers expect to add technical analysts in the next two years, while 35% will hire additional clinical informaticists, according to the survey. Some 70% of insurance companies will boost staffing on the technical side of clinical analytics and 30% will add informaticists.

Similarly a  recent report from Frost and Sullivan says hospitals will soon see a significant increase in the use of analytics tools. Their latest figures show that while only 10% of U.S. hospitals implemented health data analytics tools in 2011, that number will grow to approximately 50% adoption in 2016.