Report: Top technology trends across the realm of healthcare
Monday, August 17, 2015
In its summer 2015 Health Tech Report, CDW profiles the 10 most current and pressing trends of which those in healthcare should take notice. The list is expansive and somewhat obvious in areas, but provides insight into the changing landscape of the current healthcare technology sector — which is no stranger to constant movement.
The list's most pressing issues this season certainly will not remain the same a year from now. However, it's worth noting such trends provide the foundation of where the industry is headed in regard to raising quality, security and satisfaction.
As is obvious to those who follow healthcare, the report points out the patient is driving the improved experience and "setting the bar high in terms of expectations and performance," and technology is being used as an end to this means, specifically in regard to engagement.
The report says social media has become the must-have strategy for healthcare organizations. The authors cite a Health Data Management study that says more than 99 percent of hospitals have a Facebook, Foursquare or Yelp account, and the majority is leaning toward Twitter in an effort to communicate with potential customers. Sixty percent of doctors credit social media as improving quality of care delivered to patients. Having an account means it must be managed, though.
Information security is listed second of the most important trends, in a market where breaches are costing more than $6 billion a year. Single sign-on is an emerging technology for healthcare that can be used to effectively deter breach, as can privacy awareness training for staff and plans and protocols for managing an organization's information.
Other strategies — trends — being explored by healthcare organizations include the use of analytics, big data, mobility and telehealth technologies all designed to help organizations curb costs and gain an upper hand at the point of care. Lack of infrastructure is cited as the primary reason for groups not to be able to move forward or respond appropriately, as only 4 percent of organizations say they can support and integrate these technologies into their operations.
Another approach that remains popular in concept, but not in practice, is the Internet of Things, where connected devices can provide additional data sources for physicians to engage patients and meet them at the point of care. CDW cites a report by InformationWeek that suggests there will be 50 billion connected devices by the end of 2020.
Also, in the post-electronic health record world, technologists and informatics experts are moving to a place where data is at the heart of all they do, including the integration of business and clinical sides to achieve better patient care and financial goals, the report states.
Finally, the report points to patient engagement. A superfluous term, the movement toward a more connected society where more is shared (including health information) is taking hold and gaining popularity in part because of millennials, who want to share their personal information in the hopes that will improve the greater good.
Millennials want to use technology at the point of care, and elsewhere, and expect their caregivers to do so, too. Telemedicine, specifically, is an option they want to see their doctors provide.
Likewise, people are more interested in wearables and fitness trackers to monitor their daily health, a movement encouraged by insurance companies who are hoping to somehow use the information and ultimately design products that can somehow use this information to provide plans and coverage to people willing to share their information in exchange for lower premiums.
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