As we begin the new year, HIMSS leadership came together to identify key health information and technology trends North America can expect to see – and prepare for – in 2018. While these predictions run the gamut from cybersecurity to interoperability and new healthcare modalities, a common theme emerged: the relationship between providers, information, and technology will deepen to provide more value to patients. We will see providers lean on information and technology more heavily to inform operational efficiencies and clinical improvements, manage and monitor at-risk patients, and withstand cyberattacks all while providing user-centric experiences. We’ll also watch the rise of a new workforce that couples clinical, analytics, and technical knowledge to derive value from health applications operating across platforms and systems.
Here’s what 2018 is expected to bring:
Information and Technology Will Convene to Create More User-Centric Experiences
“Clinicians and patients live in the real world; information and technology are woven into the fabric of our lives – we know what’s possible. As a result, clinicians and patients are rapidly (and loudly) losing patience with disconnected, user-unfriendly systems. In the coming year, digital health technologies will increasingly be based upon user-centered design principles with standards-based interoperability baked in.” Carla Smith, Executive Vice President of HIMSS North America.
Providers Will Establish New Relationships with Technology, and Expect More
“We’re over the peak of the bell curve in technology adoption; therefore, 2018 will see energy refocused in a couple of ways. First, we’ll see a surge of interest in creating new relationships regarding interfaces and workflows. Second, providers will expect more of their technology – beyond its role in compliance – and how it can be used to inform operational efficiencies and clinical improvements.” Rod Piechowski, Senior Director of Health Information Systems, HIMSS North America.
Technology Will Follow Risk
“In 2018, technology will follow risk. For the last decade, technology has followed funding sources, such as grants and federal funding initiatives. Now, more healthcare organizations are ‘at risk’ for some portion of the care they provide. Technology is being procured to assist organizations in managing and improving care to the patients in the risk pool. We continue to see proof of this transition as a number of the 2017 HIMSS Davies Award winners use technology solutions to monitor patients at risk for 30-day readmissions.” Patricia Wise, Vice President of Health Information Systems, HIMSS North America.
Interoperability Approaches and Trusted Exchange Frameworks Will Crystalize
“2018 will be the year of crystalizing interoperability approaches and trusted exchange frameworks. We will start to see clear pathways for health information and technology professionals, organizations and entities to realize their interoperability goals through these efforts – thanks in large part to the 21st Century Cures Act currently being defined by several federal agencies including the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).” Mari Greenberger, Director of Informatics, HIMSS North America
A Diversified Health IT Workforce Will Emerge
“In 2018 there will be a rise of new knowledge workers. As we see an emergence of new specialties and the growth of dedicated disciplines, we also see many new disruptors in the space. Health innovators create applications for patients, caregivers, clinicians and practitioners that operate across multiple healthcare platforms and systems. These advances drive the need for a diversified health information and technology workforce, one that can understand both the clinician and technology side.” Christel Anderson, Senior Director of Interoperability Initiatives, HIMSS North America
Critical Infrastructure Will Be Tested by Cyberattacks and Severe Weather
“In 2018 we can expect to see more cyberattacks – among other types of attacks – on critical infrastructure from nation state adversaries, as well as a cascade of failures. Likewise, we’ll experience more severe weather patterns, and emergency response and coordination will once again be put to the test.” Lee Kim, Director of Privacy and Security, HIMSS North America
Artificial Intelligence and Analytics to Help EHRs Deliver Greater Value
“In 2018, we will begin to benefit from digital investment through the application of advanced analytics and the capabilities of artificial intelligence. Combining the experience, knowledge and human touch of clinicians with the power of artificial intelligence and analytics will go far to improve the quality and lower the cost of patient care.” Joyce Sensmeier, Vice President of Informatics, HIMSS North America
Purchases of Precision Medicine Solutions Will Increase Significantly
“In 2018, we expect a significant increase in the purchase of precision medicine solutions – but with distinct buying patterns that can identify who is adopting next. Our models indicate approximately 160 hospitals or health systems will be highly likely to purchase precision medicine solutions in 2018, an increase of 45 percent over the previous two-year average. We expect a majority of this purchasing growth to occur in larger health systems. In addition, 10 percent of U.S. states have doubled the number of precision medicine solutions available to provider organizations, primarily though expansion of capabilities at early adopter health systems. This will likely continue the trend of historical growth being driven by a hub and spoke delivery model and an increased presence of large brand-name health systems.” Blain Newton, Executive Vice President of HIMSS Analytics
Connected Health Continues to Grow; Contributes to Improved Health Outcomes
“With the new CMS reimbursement codes for telehealth and remote patient monitoring announced at the end of 2017 as a catalyst, the New Year will position Connected Health to contribute to improved health outcomes in the care of patients with COPD, Diabetes and Mental Health, as well as our aging population. This will also provide increased opportunities to integrate patient-generated health data from monitoring devices and wearables into electronic health records for use in clinical practice, enabling more personal and connected health and wellness.” Patricia Mechael, Executive Vice President of the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance)
Healthcare Will Continue to Decentralize
“In 2018, the decentralization of our healthcare system will continue, spurred by a need for truly interconnected information and services that continually optimize in response to our actions. In this model, the system will never be at rest, communicating across all the environments we inhabit. It’s a technological shift breaking down the divide between enterprise-specific hospital technology and the outside world. The key factors driving this decentralization include: new means of achieving interoperability such as FHIR and blockchain; increased access to data with more sophisticated analytics (AI) and new modalities to interact and communicate around that data (AR/VR); new entrants to the industry from consumer technology giants to smaller companies in adjacent sectors; disruption within existing business models and relationships to technology; and finally the new environments in which these transformations are starting to occur – healthcare and health happens everywhere.” Indu Subaiya, Executive Vice President of Health 2.0, a HIMSS Innovation Company