We live in a world where technology is making every aspect of our lives more convenient—our groceries get dropped at our doorsteps, checks are deposited via smart phones, and our houses can secure and regulate themselves. But what about our well-being? Well, technology is making that easier too.
For example, runners can generate all kinds of health metrics during workouts through wearable devices. Similarly, diabetics can track glucose levels using smart phone compatible glucose meters. Now imagine a world in the not-too-distant future where all of this collected health data is analyzed in real time to warn a first-time marathoner about an impending heart attack, or a diabetic of the onset of insulin shock.
To make this new world a reality, a fundamental shift in the way health IT (HIT) currently operates is required. Applications and services must be impeccably choreographed to operate seamlessly as one, driven by data in real time. As leaders in this space, we have already seen evidence that this shift has begun. Next are five HIT trends that we feel are leading us to a new world of data-inspired care.
HIT Trend #1: The rise of the hyper quantified self
There’s no shortage of new technologies designed to engage patients. Wearable devices, patient portals, health metrics tracking apps, and other innovations are empowering patients to take ownership of their care. All this patient-generated data is a windfall to the medical community as well, delivering data that, once integrated into the fabric of our healthcare system, will play a huge role in the growth of personalized medicine and population health.
HIT Trend #2: Big Data
No IT trend list—for any industry—is complete without the mention of Big Data. The power of Big Data is revolutionizing every industry and healthcare is no exception. As digitization of healthcare data becomes the norm, the focus is shifting to acting upon the data collected. Thus, Big Data initiatives are on the rise and organizations are looking for ways to more efficiently store, access and glean insights from the data. It’s a worthwhile goal as health data can help us reduce re-admittance rates, better understand illnesses, improve outcomes, personalize medicine according to DNA, predict outbreaks, and eliminate pandemics.
HIT Trend #3: Into the clouds
The benefits of the cloud—flexibility, scalability, lower costs to name a few—are spurring on cloud adoption. Cloud architecture allows for faster implementation of new initiatives and easier access to data—by providers, partners, and patients alike. Also, in the cases where fully managed cloud Platform as a Service infrastructures are leveraged, HIT organizations can alleviate the significant strain of maintaining in-house hardware and software, freeing up their resources to focus on more strategic projects.
HIT Trend #4: Improved collaboration between pharma and healthcare
The benefits of collaboration between pharma and healthcare have long been recognized by both industries. But functional data silos, security concerns, and differing data standards have historically made collaboration a big challenge. Fortunately, advances across the IT spectrum in areas such as computing, security, and cloud technologies have reduced the impact of these obstacles, allowing the two industries to more efficiently build transparency into their processes. As drug trial outcomes, clinical data, medical images, genomics research, and other types of industry data are made available to more players, everyone wins through improved pharma products and healthcare delivery.
HIT Trend #5: Advanced interoperability
In compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program’s proposed rules for Meaningful Use Stage 3, organizations must put significant efforts into securely connecting with external entities and systems. Now, with the basic level of interoperability largely achieved, attention has turned to advanced interoperability. Advanced interoperability is the ability to seamlessly pull together data from connected systems and sources to present a holistic, uniform view of the patient’s health. In many ways, this trend is the point at which all other trends converge; without advanced interoperability, there’s no way to sustainably bridge the gap between more data and meaningful data.
It’s all about the data
The above trends show us that it’s all about the data: capturing more data, doing more with the data that is captured, and finding more efficient and cost-effective ways to accomplish both of these objectives. To that end, there is another trend worth noting: the emergence of full-service data platforms, such as Liaison’s ALLOY Health™ Platform, that are designed to support HIT in its efforts. Categorized as dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service), these cloud-based platforms are working hard behind the scenes to provide the real-time integration, data management, and data security solutions that HIT needs to reach its lofty goals.