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A Physician's Perspective: Meaningful Use of Health Technology

Dec 31 2012   8:03PM GMT

Future of health IT: Predictions for 2013



Posted by: DrJosephKim
EHR, hie, mhealth, social media, Telehealth, telemedicine

Here are a few health IT thoughts for 2013 as we enter the new year:

1. HIEs: We will continue to see new and evolving models support the idea behind a true health information exchange (HIE). Some models will fail. Other models will only work in a certain part of the country because of the market dynamics, politics, and the availability of hospitals and providers. Some models will be applicable across the country in various market segments. Others will get funded by a government organization. We will see many different models for HIEs that will be viable in this country, but there will still be a handful of states that won’t have HIEs by the end of 2013. Some states will have several HIEs. At least we’ll make some progress in 2013.

2. EHRs: Roughly half of the physicians in outpatient practices are using EHRs. I predict that will reach 75% or higher by the end of 2013. That number may need to get adjusted again if other prescribers like nurse practitioners and physician assistants are included. Over 95% of hospitals will have EHRs and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems in place. So, 2013 won’t be a year where we see any major advances in EHRs. It’ll just be a year where more providers and hospitals implement or switch to different systems. Nothing too exciting here.

3. mHealth: This will be an exciting area where we will continue to see rapid growth, innovative concepts, and increasing adoption of tools ranging from smartphones to tablets. The innovative ideas will be aimed at both health care providers and patients. We’ll continue to see startups with novel ideas and a variety of health and medical apps designed to improve patient care. I also predict that we’ll get some definitive direction from the FDA on the topic of mobile medical apps in 2013.

4. Telemedicine: Whether you call it telemedicine or telehealth, this will be an area of rapid growth in 2013. We’ll see more people using the term telehealth (but I’ll stick to telemedicine since I’m a doc). The lines separating connected health, wireless health, digital health, telemedicine/telehealth, and mHealth will all get blurred. Eventually, we’ll find some element of telemedicine incorporated into any digital health solution.

5. Social media: I’m not just talking about Facebook and Twitter. The use of social media in health care will continue to gain momentum and we’ll start getting much more sophisticated with our use and interpretation of social media. Hot themes in 2013 will include social media analytics, influence scores, reaching the right audience with your message, and engaging physicians and other health care professionals on special social media platforms that are reserved for licensed health care professionals.

That’s a snapshot of some predictions in 2013. I didn’t even get into cybersecurity, health care reform, novel reimbursement and payment models, and more. Those topics will have to wait until next month.

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