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Five health IT trends not to watch in 2012

Not all health IT trends will survive in 2012. Read about the EMR, the RHIO, the HIS and other health information technology doomed for extinction in the new year.

Most year-end analyses of health IT trends will examine mobile health, meaningful use, the accountable care organization and other topics expected to dominate headlines in 2012.

While has considered such trends, the topics discussed here are poised to quietly fade from the spotlight. Without further ado, here are five health IT trends not to expect to see in 2012.

Electronic medical records (EMRs). Wait a minute, isn't everyone implementing these in order to qualify for meaningful use? Not quite. Back in January, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) offered some clarification, noting that, while an EMR does let a physician track patient data and improve his or her care quality, it's an electronic health record (EHR) that can be shared among caregivers and accessed by patients. Given the emphasis that's expected to be placed on data exchange in meaningful use stage 2, don't be surprised to see EMR technology go the way of the dodo.

PHR services won't go extinct in 2012, but they won't be one of the major health IT trends of the new year, either.

Personal health records (PHRs). PHR services won't go extinct in 2012, but they won't be one of the major health IT trends of the new year, either. With Google Health shelved and Microsoft HealthVault facing an uncertain future in the wake of Microsoft's joint venture with General Electric Co., major PHR services appear to be in trouble. Nor does it help that PHR privacy remains questionable. It will be interesting to see if ventures such as Dossia and -- driven by employers and patients, respectively, not necessarily tech industry giants -- can find success.

The hospital information system (HIS) or clinical information system (CIS). These systems appear destined for the same fate as the EMR, for the same reason as the EMR. While HIS and CIS do a good job of collecting data and conducting clinical decision support, they struggle to share that data through health information exchange, in part because many such systems predate the use of data interoperability standards. Essentially, HIS and CIS are compact discs, and EHR systems are online music sharing services. (At least CIS can live on through Asia's Commonwealth of Independent States.)

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Computerized physician order entry (CPOE). Yes, CPOE is a meaningful use core measure, and those who have undergone meaningful use attestation are therefore using it. However, CPOE adoption remains low, in large part because the "P" in CPOE has often been neglected -- systems have been typically developed for hospitals, and they've been slow to adapt to the tablet PCs and smartphones that physicians have more than happily embraced. With mobile health applications likely to focus on wellness and chronic care management in 2012, it's unlikely that CPOE will rank among the most glamorous health IT trends of the new year.

Regional health information organization (RHIO). While the entity itself is not defunct -- at last count, there were more than 250 in the United States, which is a laudable development -- the term "RHIO" appears to be. It's a shame, too, because having to distinguish between "health information exchange" and "health information exchange organization" is a bit of a pain.

Let us know what you think about the story. What other health IT trends are headed into the sunset? Email Brian Eastwood, Site Editor.

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