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Hots and nots of healthcare IT for 2017

No secret, providers are making major investments into their IT infrastructure. While some of the buyers look to improve or revamp their EHR systems, others aim far beyond with unlocking new possibilities in patient-caregiver communication, data storage, medical image analysis, security and more.​

In order to deliver sought-after solutions, vendors need to be on the same page with clinical stakeholders. We’ve reviewed a number of sneak peeks from Healthcare IT News, Becker’s Hospital Review and Cleveland Clinic for valuable insights that can help to navigate the next year’s healthcare IT.

Hots and nots of healthcare IT for 2017

3D imaging & analysis

Among all hots, we were particularly hooked by providers’ interest in 3D imaging, which was represented specifically with 3D radiology and 3D cardiology. The article on Healthcare IT News states that due to evolving imaging capabilities, viewing and manipulating medical images gets more complicated.

Overtime, each modality generates more details in images, which results in voluminous data. How much volume do we talk here? According to HIMSS Analytics, a 3D mammogram can take a terabyte or more. Therefore, providers will need special software to tackle that large images, whether for reliable diagnosis or invasive procedure guidance. Such special software demand seems to hit 2 complementary directions next year:

  • image processing, display and analysis
  • 3D augmented and virtual reality (AR & VR)

Since not all hospitals were early adopters of 3D imaging software, 2017 will offer hospitals a chance to catch up with the competition. Others will be able to level up their diagnostics with medical image analysis solutions to facilitate and support clinical decisions.

The buy-in focus will be largely on cardiology, which is most likely rooted in the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of death in the US, according to CDC. As major effort is invested into preventing and treating heart attacks, arrhythmias and other related diseases, adopting 3D imaging & analysis software can be the next step to improve cardiovascular care. And here’s the proof.

Henry Ford Hospital’s recent study, also quoted by Healthcare IT News, has shown that 3D imaging can be helpful for tackling cardiovascular problems, such as atrial fibrillation. Particularly, the Henry Ford Hospital team held multiple implantations of a left atrial appendage closure device. This device allows lowering the risk of stroke for patients with atrial fibrillation.

Using 3D imaging, they achieved a 0% complication rate compared with the national average of a 16.3% rate of serious complications in earlier trials with 2D imaging. 3D technology allowed for pre-planning, which led to fewer last-minute decisions, less contrast usage, and, importantly, less catheter movement.

Therefore, the hospital was able to precisely minimize both surgical site and post-surgery complications. The team also managed to decrease the procedure length by 34 minutes, which translated into quicker patient recovery.

Speaking about the other direction, Cleveland Clinic acknowledges the potential of AR & VR for improving the quality of microsurgeries (e.g., on retina or brain). When combined with AR and 3D glasses, these technologies allow for wider fields of view and can remove the discomfort from working with the microscope in a bent position.

Communication between staff and patients

Speaking of communication, VoIP, telemedicine and nurse communication systems are among top demands for 2017. These three are tightly bound together, with more focus on supporting nurse workflows, care coordination and distant patient care. Since nurses are the guardians of patient care across multiple settings, providers want to make sure “they’re in the right places and doing the right things…at the right moment”, states Healthcare IT News.

PHI security

Healthcare organizations are continuously worried about PHI threats. Experian’s Data Breach Industry Forecast report quoted on Becker’s Hospital Review claims that data breaches involving EHRs will continue to grow. This explains why providers are putting encryption, firewall, and spam / spyware filters in their ‘to-buy’ lists.

Data management

Data warehousing and mining stay hot along with HIE, supporting the ever-trending need to improve care coordination. It is curious that cloud storage and BI, which are closely related to data management, aren’t on the list of common buying commitments.

The overall growth curve

As far as the expectations in healthcare IT buy-ins are concerned, the next year promises to be interesting yet intense. Clinical stakeholders will have to deal with possible security threats, balance them with data management, and improve care coordination further.

This leaves the new 21st Century Cures Act behind and change leadership over healthcare and the whole country, which may result in ad-hoc industry demands to handle.

On the bright side, hospitals also plan adopting technologies to enhance diagnostics and care delivery when it comes to 3D imaging and nurse communication.

If you have any predictions on what will be hot (or not) in the next year’s healthcare IT, your comments are highly welcome.

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