Predicting the future of Healthcare IT

Healthcare 2025.  Ask the 40 thousand IT experts gathering in Las Vegas for the annual Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference about the biggest challenge facing the industry over the next ten years and you’ll get a near unanimous response.  “Increasing government regulation and increasing demand for information, combined with flat budgets will be the norm for the foreseeable future,” says Mike Feld, CEO of VertitechIT and one of the nation’s foremost healthcare IT consultants.  “Survival and true advancement will only occur if we change how we use our technology and our people to meet those needs.”

Feld is one of many taking note of a recent HIMSS Analytics study that suggests that much of the technology is already available and in use in other industries.  Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems have been widely adopted so now it’s a matter of figuring out how to store and use all of the newly available data to make the delivery of care more efficient, economical, and in the long run, improve patient outcomes.  "There are technologies in place now that can really help, and hospitals need to be aware of them," says Matt Schuchardt, director of market intelligence solutions sales at HIMSS Analytics.  "The next step of optimization is going to require analysis and utilization of all these large data sets, and really clear insights on best practices." 

Many experts, like John McDaniel of the HCI Group who travels the world advising healthcare institutions how innovation and business intelligence will shape Healthcare 2025, predict that healthcare will move beyond the hospital walls as patients take a more active role in the care process. “In Healthcare 2025, care will be provided largely in homes and ambulatory sites, often directed by health coaches and administered by individuals themselves. Best practices and treatments will emanate from comprehensive, real-time information that is assembled by aggregating data collected by providers, individuals and a myriad of other external sources,” says McDaniel.

To facilitate technology advancement and integration, healthcare IT departments will be forced to adopt critical new systems and new ways of working.  Mike Feld says a hyper-converged architecture is central to it all, increasing 24/7 availability while reducing complexity and expense.  “The use of advanced virtualization technologies like VMware’s NSX and vSAN stabilize and enhance end-user experiences while controlling costs and streamlining administration of end-user devices,” says Feld.  “And all of that results in IT personnel becoming less concerned with “what if” and being more focused on implementing the technologies that allow doctors and healthcare executives to take advantage of the huge amounts of data collected by advanced applications.”

The result is business intelligence and the ability to take the data stored via these new systems, analyze it, and put it to use.  The vision for healthcare 2025 is doing more with less. Putting the right technology and the right people in the right place, will make it possible. 

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