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Advisory Panel: 2014 Will Be the “Year of the …”

January 17, 2014 Advisory Panel 2 Comments

The HIStalk Advisory Panel is a group of hospital CIOs, hospital CMIOs, practicing physicians, and a few vendor executives who have volunteered to provide their thoughts on topical industry issues. I’ll seek their input every month or so on an important news developments and also ask the non-vendor members about their recent experience with vendors. E-mail me to suggest an issue for their consideration.

If you work for a hospital or practice, you are welcome to join the panel. I am grateful to the HIStalk Advisory Panel members for their help in making HIStalk better.

This question this time: In your opinion, 2014 will be the "Year of …"

2014 will be the year of population management. Not really, but those two words will be used a lot.

Informaticist. I think all healthcare organizations will be focused on how to turn data into information, whether through business intelligence, clinical or biomedical informatics, retrospective / real-time / predictive analytics. These efforts will take on new meaning as we continue to build accountable care organizations and networks

Cuts to the budget.

The year the Federal Government went too far trying to ‘fix’ healthcare.

2014 will be the year of the HIE. Many words will be sprayed onto computer screens and into throw-away journals regarding connectivity and data availability, but there will be few objective studies, and I still will not be able to see the actual Xrays of the patient that was just transferred from another downtown hospital.

Data analytics.

I hope it will be the year of the non-buzzword, meaning that if one has not figured it out by now, whatever the buzz is about, rarely helps you in accomplishing the tasks at hand for your organization. Of course, we will hear ICD-10 and MU, but I would not call that buzz, it is just work that has to be done.

"Year of the Hospital Financial Losses." I think there will be more hospitals showing financial deficits than at any other time in history.

2014 will be the Year of the EMR App. We will see more and more apps which integrate nicely with EMRs and fill a special niche via content and/or workflow, which the giant and slow moving EMR vendors can’t do themselves. 

EHR Equivocation. Until the vendors solve or at least do a better job on usability, understand their OWN product completely, and enlist the help of clinicians in design, we will see significant slowing in EHR adoption. We’ve seen most of the adopters that were able to provide the resources required for an enterprise wide EHR implementation already take the leap… in the end, the cost of an EHR still significantly outweighs the penalties for the foreseeable future.

Year of patient engagement and ICD-10 chaos.

For healthcare in general, Year of the Merger & Acquisition. For Healthcare IT, Year of the CIO turnover.

I think it will be the year when interoperability and big data will continue to be little more than buzzwords. The difference between the two is that one day, in a somewhat distant future, interoperability will actually come to pass and make a difference. Big Data will never be more than a buzzword. Like smart watches, Google Glass will prove to be useful in some applications in healthcare, but will not be a game changer. The leadership of a few HIT companies will continue to watch with glass-eyed wonder at how the American taxpayer continues to fund the exponential growth of their personal bank accounts while the products they provide in exchange for those funds reach new heights of mediocrity. And those whose mortgages are paid by selling these mediocre systems will continue to defend to the last breath the promise that these systems will one day deliver on if we only give them another decade or two to work their magic because the years and years they have been given to prove their value so far just aren’t enough. At the same time, any impartial studies done on the ROI of these systems that cost the taxpayers billions will show little to no benefit to that oft intentionally forgotten constituent of the healthcare system- the patient. (Man, am I a cynic or what?) On a more optimistic note, I think the health insurance exchanges will actually start to show some positive ROI for the oft forgotten constituent.

2014 will be the Year of EMR Optimization. Now that most IDNs are finished or far along with EMR implementation, they will turn increased attention and resources to making EMRs work more effectively to support critical business imperatives related to healthcare reform and the numerous changes we’re undergoing in response to industry pressures.

2014 will be the year of a major data breach (hopefully not here). Most of the breaches I’ve heard about have been from lost/stolen computers or an organization doing something stupid, not an intentional penetration. Perhaps I’m just overreacting to the Target hack and in reality there is no interest in healthcare data. On the other hand, nobody that I’m aware of in health care has NSA-quality protection and I think it would be pretty easy.

Regulatory mandate dictating the IT vision/budget

Year of the “search for value in analytics.”


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