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Two predictions for 2016 from a health IT reporter

Being a health IT reporter, you start to notice when certain technologies are being picked up by hospitals and other healthcare organizations more and more. I’m sure my colleague Shaun Sutner, the news and features writer for our site SearchHealthIT.com, has come across other trends as well. But as far as my reporting goes, I’ve noticed two technologies that seem to be gaining momentum, and I’m sure that momentum will continue into 2016 as well. Here they are:

The rise of the cloud

IDC, a research firm in Framingham, Mass., in a recent research survey found that more and more health IT leaders — CIOs, CMIOs and IT directors, for example — are becoming increasingly comfortable with cloud computing in healthcare.

The survey of hospitals with 200 beds or more found that 41% of respondents were more comfortable with the cloud now than in 2014. Last year, 31% of respondents said they were more comfortable with cloud.

Shawn Wiora, CIO at Creative Solutions in Healthcare based in Fort Worth, Texas – which operates long-term care facilities in that state —  is a good example of this shift.

Wiora explained that Creative Solutions has 100% in the cloud since the beginning of 2015 with 43 different applications on the Web, including its EHR, accounting applications and maintenance software.

In addition, a recent report by Bitglass, Inc., a cloud access security broker based in Campbell, Calif., found that in regulated industries — such as financial services and healthcare — cloud adoption has nearly tripled, jumping from 15% in 2014 to 39% in 2015. In healthcare alone, the report found that cloud adoption has grown from 8% in 2014 to 37% of the market in 2015.

3D printing brings medical benefits

SearchHealthIT recently spoke with Adnan Siddiqui from the Jacob’s Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., about how he is using a 3D printer to create life-like models of brain aneurysms that require complex and risky surgery. Having a 3D model of an aneurysm that he will soon operate on enables him to try out various methods, better plan for the surgery and achieve the best outcome.

And the Jacob’s Institute is not the only hospital finding value in 3D printing:

  • Shriners Hospital for Children in Houston is using 3D printing to create prosthetic hands for kids.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is using 3D printers to help with face transplants.
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington Medical Center are using 3D printers to help surgeons practice before they perform heart surgery.