Fine print: the views and opinions expressed in this article are mine personally and are not necessarily representative of current or former employers.
January brings the new year and the new year reliably brings two things: resolutions and predictions. I’ve already broken my New Year’s resolutions, so I’m going to try my hand at predictions.
For them to be any fun, I think they need to be as specific as possible and sufficiently bold so they don’t state the obvious. “I predict there will be a lot of change in the healthcare system in the year ahead” is not a prediction – it’s a campaign promise.
Here goes, in no particular order.
- Provider healthcare organizations will move into the cloud by adopting Office 365 and moving email off premise at record rates. Hospitals historically wanted grand atriums (often with pianos) and big, shiny data centers. No prediction on the pianos, but not only will the tipping point occur on cloud-based email in 2015, but this will be the start of the shift away from “everything needs to be managed by hospital tech staff” and will pave the way for ERP and EMR to be next (in that order).
- While I’m on the topic of Microsoft, I predict that when it comes to Windows, you will hear two things in 2015: (a) “What happened to Windows 9?” and (b) “I hate to say this aloud, but Windows 10 is kind of cool.” Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up to win the hearts and minds of their base, the enterprise user. But Windows 10 will bend the curve back in Microsoft’s favor.
- Security will be in the news and will shape everything, period, everything. The focus on cybersecurity — with the help of Apple, who is making fingerprints mainstream — means we will see biometric everywhere. Two-factor authentication will become the norm. Your finger will be your password by the end of 2015.
- Wearables. We are all growing tired of the huge number, but this spring will bring the iWatch. It will spur the market and create the needed tipping point that has been missing – software and apps to make wearables worth the effort. The iWatch will be huge, no, I mean really big! Apple will not be able to make them fast enough and waits will be measured in weeks. Innovation will abound and the Internet of Things will all start to make sense.
- Virtual reality will capture our imagination. Magic Leap will forever change things this year. The “cinematic reality” startup raised over $500 million from names we know. We will all soon understand why. Our imagination will be captured as we think about new ways we never imagined we could interact with a computer.
- Big data will stay flat. By the end of 2015, we will have nothing new to report. We will be using the same buzzwords and holding the same optimistic promises. 2015 just won’t be the year we figure it out. I do predict we will stop using the term “data lakes,” but I can’t tell you why.
- HIE obsessions will give way to FHIR talk. The HIE interoperability goal was moving the record from Point A to Point B. The yardstick has shifted and will be defined by how we can integrate workflows from site to site. FHIR will gain even more steam and be the talk everywhere.
- The VA decision will change everything. It won’t go to Allscripts, Cerner, or Epic (which will be unfortunate), and while the project will be huge and take many years to deliver, in 2015 it will act as an engine to drive standards and data structure conversations as a new open source style system will be born.
- 2015 will continue to set records in terms of health IT startup funding. Many major health systems will become more active by investing directly in companies in an attempt to capture the value they believe they help create. At least one health IT software company will IPO in 2015, setting a record. Cerner, McKesson, The Advisory Board, Allscripts, and Athenahealth will all continue to exercise one of the few advantages they have over Epic in the EMR space — they will continue to buy strategic assets to innovate at the fast pace required.
- Cerner will seek to divest the Device Works division so that it may become a company that can compete in the whole market, not just in Cerner accounts. The new entity will become a powerhouse and take market share from both Philips and GE.
Think my predictions are wrong or ridiculous? Don’t tell me why. Instead, leave me a comment and give me yours. Remember: be specific and be bold.