A Look Back at Our 2015 Healthcare IT Predictions

By Linda Lockwood, RN, MBA, PCMH CCE, Solutions Director and Service Line Owner, Health Services, CTG, Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice and Mike Garzone, Solutions Director and Service Line Owner, Technology Services, CTG, Healthcare and Life Sciences Practice

At the beginning of 2015, we were asked to write a guest blog post for Healthcare Informatics on our predictions regarding healthcare trends for the coming year. Now that we are in the new year, we thought we would take a look back on that more innocent time and see just how we did. Overall, looks like our crystal ball was pretty clear. 

  1.  Prediction: Market consolidation continues and more Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are formed. Outcome: Merger and acquisition activity was definitely high in 2015. While standard ACO arrangements may have struggled, we continue to see the government push for more risk-based contracts and, as a result, healthcare organizations partnering on their own.

  2. Prediction: Government and regulatory challenges are here to stay. Outcome: It may seem to be lessening, but in reality, the federal government is rolling individual quality measurement programs into the Merit-based Incentive Payment System. Currently, the goal is to make all quality reporting electronic by 2018, but there are still likely to be changes between now and then. 

  3. Prediction: There’s money in DSRIPs. Outcome: This definitely proved true in 2015. The State of New York received $17 billion in the first year. CTG has been very successful working with several regions in the last year and there is a building excitement and energy around this work. 

  4. Prediction: Data analytics becomes a cornerstone to population health. Outcome: Healthcare is making progress toward accountable, value-based models. As organizations continue to refine their strategy, data analytics solutions have been the early winner for monitoring performance and identifying improvement.  We are also seeing data analytics as a key driver of many federal programs such as DSRIP and PCMH.  Look for this to continue in 2016. 

  5. Prediction: Increased focus on (actionable) data. Outcome: Data continues to be the linchpin between workflow and effective analytics.  In 2015, we saw more focus on the importance of clean, actionable data, and positive strides to make unstructured data operable.  Moving forward, we should expect to see increased focus on data governance and the use of technology to manage complex data.  Natural Language Processing will continue to combine with Event Stream Processing to bridge the gap between retrospective analysis and prospective clinical surveillance.   

  6. Prediction: HIEs get smarter. Outcome: Things are moving in that direction, but not as quickly we anticipated in early 2015. There is still a need – organizations must be able to obtain data from outside their networks to achieve population health management. But there are still issues around sharing data with “competitors.” It’s a wonderful concept if we can get it right. 

  7. Prediction: mHealth future looks bright. Outcome: Wearables continue to grow in popularity and will continue to be consumer-driven, but we should expect to see Accountable Care Organizations increase sponsorship of capabilities that better engage patients and reward healthy behavior. We should also expect advancements in utilization of mHealth to better serve behavioral health populations.  Look for more “edge analytics” to increase mHealth application accuracy and behavior management.  

  8. Prediction: Revenue cycle software undergoes resurgence. Outcome: There has not been as much revenue cycle application replacement as we anticipated, but there is high interest in optimizing the applications that organizations have in place. Organizations are still also weighing the advantages of gong to a single integrated system. 

  9. Prediction: EHRs finally move past implementation. Outcome: This definitely happened in 2015 – probably faster than some had anticipated. Those who were involved at the peak of implementation activities are taking a moment to catch their breath before moving into the next challenge, which EHR optimization. There will be some implementation activity for the laggards and around mergers and acquisitions, but for most the mountain is behind them.   

How does that align with what you’re seeing? Do you agree or disagree with our evaluation and predictions? Any thoughts on what we will see come on the HIT scene in 2016?

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