The digitization of healthcare started at least a decade ago, when hospitals and physicians were urged to implement electronic records of patients’ health. Today, providers are searching for means to attain results they can measure with the current systems.

Here are the Top Trends you can Expect in 2019

Better Patient Engagement and Experience

Today, healthcare providers involve patients in their own healthcare, understanding the positive impact it can have. Patient experience management includes all of the interactions patients have with healthcare like plans, providers, practices, healthcare facilities etc. We can expect organizations to invest in models of care delivery like portals, apps or remote monitoring, whereby patients are attended to at their location. This also empowers patients to exercise more control over their data, and to share it easily.

Efforts to Achieve Digital Health

Innovations in technology provide healthcare service providers with more options for care delivery. Smart providers are shifting focus to measurable health outcomes, and digital tech will come with inbuilt ROIs. With pressure to cut spending and increase margins, we’re likely to see heavy investment in solutions that embed tech for gaining quick benefits in clinical and/or financial outcomes. We may even see tech giants getting into healthcare tech.

Increased use of AI and Data Visualization

Applying AI to patient records has great potential in helping clinicians make better decisions, bring down financial risk, and set up population health initiatives for things like managing chronic diseases. Many experts feel it is this area that will see the highest investment, it is believed that it will give rise to numerous analytics demos. However, most experts feel that significant real world applications of AI are likely to be in image processing via early stage machine learning for dermatological lesions, radiology and similar areas.

Rising Importance of Population Health Management

Healthcare providers are now segmenting patients in an attempt to boost the efforts of optimizing costs and outcomes of treatment. To segment patients and treat specific diseases, providers will need to make use of numerous IT applications. Decision making by providers will be revolutionized by the availability of data.  The increase in the deployment of healthcare IT apps is also giving rise to opportunities for the utilization of clinical data in more complex ways. This enables clinicians in improved decision making, and improved quality of care deliver. It is also expected that private partnerships with healthcare providers will increase due to the increased focus on value based care. More companies are willing to combine one another’s technology platforms, creating innovative collaborations. Hospitals will have the ability to pinpoint the patients at most risk and refer them to the right resource with the help of predictive analysis.

More Efforts by Payers to Provide Total Care Management

Experts opine that payers will embrace technological innovation as insurers are seeking to offer care management and optimization of health of covered individuals. This will see a shift away from conventional claims administration and payment, and delivery of a better experience for users. Insurance companies are also attempting to achieve data collection and utilization in a manner that will foster improved outcomes at reduced expense.

Marching Toward Interoperability

Vendors are being pushed to enhance efficiency of the sharing of digital patient information across functional teams and vital systems that utilize them. This is thought to bring about increased efficiency in care, and enhanced support for clinical decision making. Greater interoperability will drive value based care; patient demand for this, and data sharing, will in turn drive the industry towards value based care.

EHR Optimization

There is widespread implementation of record systems now, and providers are aiming to render the technology more interactive and responsive to the needs of clinicians – and this will certainly have a massive effect on the way care is delivered. We can expect to see innovative infrastructure and platforms being created, to enable hospitals to leverage the developments in AI and clean up data that is not structured. It will aid in the automation of doctors’ clerical tasks like documentation, billing, and repetitive tasks related to clinical care.

Security of Data and Health Information

Hackers and invasive techniques are becoming more sophisticated, putting greater pressure on providers. This has led to an increase in the spending on technologies that amp up security efforts, like detecting deception, encryption and other consulting services. IoT is particularly thought to be vulnerable to security threats, as most connected devices – like say pacemakers – are unprotected.

Demand for Value-based Care

The reimbursement approach of health insurance has shifted towards value based care, creating fresh challenges for providers. They now use new methods and technologies like apps that help healthcare providers to manage the health requirements of their patients better. This will also help them cut down on unnecessary expenditure on emergency care by delivering services to patients with chronic conditions to help manage their illness proactively. Interoperability, which emphasizes access to full patient information, the shift towards value-based care will be realized.

Virtual Care

Healthcare providers will continue to shift care to a virtual landscape, in an effort to provide care effectively, and at lower cost. This may be achieved through remote patient monitoring devices, telemedicine at home, and so on. Educated patients are likely to demand the same facility for healthcare that they experience elsewhere in life; that is, getting exactly what they want at the time they want it. It is expected that we will see a rise in connected devices, care on demand, urgent care an d retail clinics.

Increased Cloud Influence

Experts opine that healthcare organizations will be more open to the idea of adopting the cloud for a range of IT needs. For example, it may be more practical for a hospital to move their IT infrastructure to the cloud rather than go through the difficulties and the heavy expenditure of hiring and establishing a full IT department in house.  This will be especially true of smaller hospitals , as they are likely to have tight budgets. Moving the infrastructure to the cloud also offers advantages like reliability, security and accessibility; it will also enable patients to manage and store their personal health data in the apps they prefer in the cloud. Of course, it means greater expenditure on cloud data security.

Greater Use of Clinical Decision Support and Real-world Evidence

AI use, more sophisticated analytics and the massive amounts of patient data will dive the use of support for clinical decisions based on real world evidence. The focus will shift from big data to small data analysis, with healthcare systems concentrating on using current data to enhance operational and clinical processes.  With data liquidity and integration of third party apps with electronic health records, we can expect clinical evidence to be more refined. This will of course depend on clinical data captured at the time of delivering care. Providers’ decision making will be transformed by data, especially since the increased technology use in healthcare offers more opportunities to use the data in more complex ways.