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3 Trends Driving the Future of Healthcare Technology

Amidst regulatory changes, evolving patient expectations, and emerging technology, healthcare providers find themselves in a very interesting, and challenging, ecosystem. Of course, while these pressures present obstacles to success, they also present an enormous opportunity for providers that are able to be nimble and adapt to a continually shifting “new normal.”

Today, healthcare providers are able to provide exceptional care to patients, and with the proper technology and processes, can maintain a 360-degree view of a patient’s health profile, allowing for more accurate diagnoses and more effective treatment plans. At HealthTECH Resources, Inc., my team and I are fortunate to work with many of the nation’s leading providers and have built a keen understanding of trends that are impacting the space. In this article, I would like to share a few that we believe will have a critical impact on the way providers and patients alike will manage healthcare in the near term.

Preventive Medicine

It’s no secret that preventive medicine is a rising trend in healthcare, as patients, insurance providers, and care providers alike recognize the benefits of preventing a disease rather than having to treat it once it presents. Preventive medicine is also more cost effective, helping reduce the level of wasted services and procedures needed to diagnose and treat. And there is plenty of waste. In fact, according to Meritage Med, a whopping 30% of healthcare spending goes to waste. This includes unnecessary services like the overprescription of antibiotics, which wastes roughly $210 billion each year, and administrative costs for paperwork, which wastes an estimated $190 billion. As wearable technology such as Apple Watch and Fitbit become more pervasive, individuals will continue to take greater control over their own healthcare, which will reduce the burden on providers and (hopefully) lead to greater overall wellness.

Integrated Technology

On the provider side, technology has enabled greater transparency of patient data than ever before, equipping doctors and medical teams with insights that allow for more optimal and customized care. Still, we have a long way to go before there is complete integration across the entire care continuum and true transparency of patient health data. We expect this to be a dominant trend over the next few years, as regulators push for both stronger integration across systems as well as enhanced data privacy for patients. With Medicare, as an example, there has been a discussion of mandating providers to participate in health information exchange activities. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed to re-name the federal EHR Incentive Program, or meaningful use, choosing to now call the program “Promoting Interoperability.” Achieving interoperability across the broader technology stack will prove quite a challenge but will be key to success over the next several years.

Emphasis on Talent Development

Technology is the dominant topic of discussion for healthcare management and has been for some time, and certainly, we don’t expect this to subside in the coming years. But in an era of revolutionary tech development, the importance of having dedicated and collaborative talent to support business needs has too often been ignored. A primary issue that many healthcare providers face is having inadequate talent resources to optimize the expensive and complex technology they have invested in, and we also work with many organizations on planning and process development to ensure that end users are set up for success. As the pendulum swings back a bit, we expect more emphasis to be placed on the talent side of the house, building teams both in-house and with outside resources across the entire spectrum of care.

What trends are you seeing play out in your own businesses? Perhaps these are impacting you in varying ways. I’d love to learn more about the challenges your business is facing and how we might be able to help.

 

3 Ways to Optimize Your Healthcare Technology Systems

Data privacy is a notable and growing concern for organizations, regulators, and individuals, both here in the United States and abroad. In the past year, the issue has made headlines repeatedly, from Cambridge Analytica’s use of personal data during the 2016 election cycle to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Facebook’s API update designed to further protect users’ information.

While this topic has exploded across all industries, for healthcare providers that manage the most sensitive data on behalf of their patients, privacy concerns have always been a primary focus. Of course, protecting patient data while utilizing it to provide optimal care is an enormous challenge for healthcare organizations that require a comprehensive and agile strategy. At HealthTECH Resources, Inc., we work with many of the nation’s leading providers to help them execute on their data strategy. From our more than 20 years of experience, there are three characteristics that seem to lead to a successful data program:

  1. Investing in the correct data management technology: Healthcare technology has greatly evolved in recent years and staying up-to-date with emerging innovation and evolving regulatory considerations can seem overwhelming. Still, investing time and dollars into the correct Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, analytics tools, and cybersecurity software is a critical step to keeping data secure and making it useful to your medical teams so they can provide the best care for patients.
  2. Training and planning to ensure ongoing improvement: Yes, technology can be entirely burdensome to implement, but it becomes much more challenging to manage once real, live human beings start using it. Successful healthcare organizations recognize the need for comprehensive training of their end users, process planning, and in many cases, ongoing technical support from third-party experts.
  3. Finding highly-specific talent that can work with an integrated approach: It can be understandably difficult to simultaneously ensure your staff and your technology are working properly on a day-to-day basis while also setting in motion new processes, systems, and project plans to address a desired future state, but successful organizations we’ve worked with are able to do so without becoming overwhelmed. Doing so requires a combination of strategic and technical talent that can work together to optimize current systems, react to industry updates, and proactively prepare for innovation and growth.

Certainly, these characteristics are not the only ones that organizations must have in order to achieve a successful data management strategy, but they often present the biggest hurdles for healthcare technology leaders that we work with. As new regulations continue to crop up, and patients demand more transparency and accuracy in their care, it will be critical for healthcare providers to have the right technology, the right people, and the right strategies in place.

If your organization needs support in its technology strategy, please feel free to reach out and I can connect you to a relevant expert for a consultation.