A Look Back at Top News in 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019 HIT Challenges
Looking back over 2018, ten (10) news stories worth noting were reviewed. First, the twelve (12) defining healthcare issues of 2018 offered a comprehensive view of some of the top issues within the healthcare industry during 2018. Next on the list was a look at the largest data breaches of 2018. With privacy an issue on everyone’s mind, how to protect data is an important area going forward.
Although much talked about, interoperability still remained largely elusive for the industry as a whole. There are a lot of providers, data companies, and sometimes, even the patients themselves who see a lot of value in having the ability to have electronic health data records. On the other side, questions of patient privacy, what standards should be adhered to, and a significant number of vendors and providers who are very reluctant to share patient data, are in no rush to just join the digital patient data revolution. Pro-data sharing initiatives were undertaken during 2018. The companies behind these initiatives believed that the business model, and overall patient treatment efficacy, demand interoperability. Even big tech names, like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM, are attempting to enter this space. Questions remain though about what companies like these will do with the largely, longitudinal patient data.
A new study by Stanford sees 2019 offering the promise of intelligent computing and data sharing as reshaping the old paradigms of how business is done. The university noted how other industries were already using certain technologies that are still in their “infancy” within the healthcare industry and its adoption of these same technologies. With intelligent computing, physicians will be able to make better and more informed decisions regarding a patient’s care by pulling a wide array of data and research. Intelligent computing will also present significant cost savings via its usage as well. Data sharing, or democratization, is seen as necessary in order for this technological progress to take place. Unusual names in the healthcare space will be involved as well, with companies like Apple and Lyft being involved in this data sharing. Security, privacy and overall safety will have to remain priorities though as the growth of using artificial intelligence (AI) grows in this healthcare ‘space.’
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The article, “Healthcare Outlook: How the Industry Will Trend and Transform in 2019,” predicts that five (5) discernible areas will impact healthcare in 2019. First, even though Washington, D.C. can often be characterized by its partisan politics, this article predicts that there will be bipartisan acceptance of value-based care arrangements. Value-based care arrangements encourage medical providers to focus on doing what is best for a patient versus doing the most amount of “things” for that same patient (e.g., running exhaustive testing, procedures, etc.). The second area the article says to focus on in 2019 is the growing importance of technology enabled medical services. Acquisitions, such as Aspire being acquired by Anthem and Amazon’s entrance into this space with its acquisition of PillPack, exhibit how technologically based firms are attractive targets for growth of larger firms. Another noteworthy are to keep an eye on in 2019, as noted in the article, is how data will impact the decisions of providers. Many people have been anticipating a transformative effect from the meshing of data and healthcare. It has not materialized yet, but 2019 is expected to move closer to that true data transformation effect. The fourth area noted in the article is how technology will force payers to embrace technology or else they risk becoming obsolete in the marketplace. Lastly, 2019 is expected to see greater collaboration between providers and private firms. The provider-private partnerships can be seen in number of areas already, like how ride sharing companies are used to help improve the attendance rates of patients for their appointments.