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The Week in Health Information Technology News
The world of healthcare information technology is always changing, and this past week is no exception. This week saw a number of interesting news, including fresh information on EHR’s, surveys from both America and Europe, as well as the continuing consolidation of EHR technology.

Electronic Health Records Usability Issues Impact Pediatric Patient Safety
A study of 9,000 pediatric patient safety reports centered around electronic health record (EHR) usability issues. 36% of the patient safety reports, or 3,423 total incidents, centered around opaque or inaccessible electronic health records, creating unnecessary risks for pediatric patients. Of those 3,423 incidents, 609 total or 18.8% of the incidents may have resulted in patient harm. Pediatric medicine exacerbates the risks of having unusable or difficult to use EHR. Pediatric patients run a wider range of physical and developmental variance, and also rely on parents or guardians to inform medical professionals of conditions to avoid potential medication errors. The most common reason for the EHR issues was either system feedback or visual display issues. Improper dosing was the most common medical issue associated with the EHR usability difficulties.

Penn Medicine Named Healthcare’s “Most Wired Hospital”
Penn Medicine received Healthcare’s Most Wired award for the sixth year in a row. The award goes to hospitals who utilize healthcare information technology to deliver more effective care for patients. Penn took major steps forward in a number of technology fields since they won this exact award last year. Senior VP and CIO of Penn Medicine Michael Restuccia said that most of the technical improvements over the past year focused on patient engagement and rapid yet accurate exchange of patient data. Penn plans to continue its innovation by offering patients an easier and simpler way to access records and care digitally over the upcoming year.

HIMSS Analytics Release European Healthcare IT Priorities Survey
HIMSS Analytics released their HIMSS Analytics Annual European eHealth Survey 2018 on last Wednesday. The survey focused on hospital IT executives throughout Europe. The survey revealed that some of the highest IT priorities for European hospitals include topics like empowering patients to make better decisions about medical care, faster and more effective sharing of patient health information, protecting sensitive medical data and developing more technology savvy hospital IT workers, developers and tech employees. The responses from Europe are similar to what American hospital IT executives say in similar surveys. A growing need for more technology focused employees at hospitals and healthcare providers is a clear trend, according to the survey, as hospitals are hiring more than just a CIO or IT executive, opting to build a deeper roster of IT talent for in-house projects.

Digital Health Markets Expected To Grow 13.4% Annually
In a new report from Transparency Market Research, TMR expects digital health markets to grow at 13.4% CAGR, or compound annual growth rate, between 2017 and 2025. The digital health market, estimated to have been worth $179.6 billion in 2016, will likely grow to $536.6 billion by 2025. Some of the biggest drivers of that growth include increased government activity, as well as large future investments by hospitals and health insurance providers in IT departments. A number of tech based improvements, including cloud-based computing and more interactive data from connected devices should see increased investment. Consequently, increased IT investment will likely increase data security investment, as well. This news from TMR also highlighted potential for specific regional growth in IT spending among healthcare providers, insurers and hospitals.

Athenahealth Faces Consolidation
Facing declining booking revenue, a saturated market and a decreasing market share in the EHR market, Athenahealth appears set to join the trend of companies consolidating to gain revenue and increase profits. Two private equity firms, Veritas Capital and Elliott Management’s Evergreen Coast Capital, announced last Monday that they were looking to consolidate and merge Athenahealth and Virence Health Technologies in a $5.7 billion dollar deal. Market saturation is one of the biggest issues facing Athenahealth’s EHR business, as most major healthcare organizations have EHR systems in place. Though initially an innovator and leader in the market by being an early adopter to cloud-based services, most of the industry has since moved to the cloud, as well. Athenahealth has only captured 2.1% of the total EHR market for acute-care hospitals in the United States. Athenahealth has shown decreasing booking and EHR revenue in every quarterly report since they began to share that data.

Black Book Survey Shows Strong Desire for Customized Integrated Health Systems
A survey of American hospital system executives said they wanted customized health systems, including practice management (PM), revenue cycle management (RCM) and electronic health records, or EHR. 40% of large hospitals expect to have systems that interoperate between EHR and RCM by the winter of 2020. Almost 90% of hospital executives said that current EHR and PM systems limit their abilities to improve physician engagement and patient care. Almost 85% of those surveyed indicated accountable care and value-based payment models would be better served by aligning IT and physician needs. 90% of hospital systems with PM achieved greater scheduling satisfaction within two months, while 92% want fuller EHR integration.