4 innovation trends shaping healthcare's future

Tools

Meaningful Use, the switch to ICD-10, security and interoperability issues are consuming many healthcare IT leaders' attention, but they mustn't overlook trends that will shape healthcare in the future, according to an article at CIO.com.

The article examines four trends that will shape future advances in healthcare, based on discussion from last month's Center for Connected Health Symposium in Boston. They include:

  1. Data Analytics: Improved Population Health Management: Venture capitalists on a panel suggested that analytics is where healthcare should be investing as it offers the most untapped potential. They described data as "a total mess," but to Andrew Firlik of Foundation Medical Partners, that "smells like opportunity."
  2. Telestroke: Like analytics, telestroke seems poised to move from the pilot phase to sustainability, the panelists said. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reported earlier this year that a telemedicine program was able to increase access to stroke care by 40 percent for patients in Oregon. Additional research from the Mayo Clinic found that hospitals with telestroke programs participating in hub-and-spoke networks saved more than $100,000 each in increased discharges.
  3. Healthcare at Home: The Patient-Centered Medical Home: Healthcare reform and the accountable care model present an opportunity to demonstrate the value of telemedicine and mobile health. The panelists said they will prove especially valuable in reducing readmissions by continuing care post-discharge.
  4. Emotional Sensing: Understanding How Patients Feel: New tools will help caregivers understand patients' point of views and help them adopt healthier behaviors. Self-monitoring tools, for instance, can show patients that they need to change.

The panelists said sensors, social media and startups will be among the drivers of healthcare IT innovation. Even a glance at the symposium is revealing, according to Lee Wrubel, a general partner with Foundation Medical Partners. It involved a few established vendors and then "a bunch of 25-year-olds.

"It tells you there are a lot of folks who understand that this industry is ripe for change and want a piece of it," Wrubel said.

Meanwhile, in a New Yorker article, Jay Parkinson, M.D., says that innovative technology absolutely will transform healthcare, but asserts that it won't happen until the under-40 doctors take over. They're not yet the technology decision-makers in healthcare, he says. When they are, though, they will demand the same ease of use as they find in consumer technology such as  Facebook, Twitter and Kayak, he adds.

"There's a sea change coming in healthcare. It's not due to amazing new technological tools," Parkinson says. It's due to a new guard of health-care professionals providing new forms of leadership with new behaviors and expectations, demanding the use of familiar tools in their everyday practice."

To learn more:
- here's the CIO.com story
- find the New Yorker article

Related Articles:
Partners HealthCare Symposium: 'A new level of maturity' can boost health IT
Telemedicine on track for a mainstream breakthrough
Telestroke network pays off for member hospitals