In the world of healthcare, progress is a constant. Between new drugs, treatments and the like, evolution is perpetually in demand. But today, the changes in the healthcare industry extend well beyond medicine, and they may very well cause all sorts of headaches for those healthcare organizations that are unprepared.
As just about any American adult can tell you, now is a time of tumultuous change in the healthcare world. A perfect storm of factors are shaping up to transform the healthcare industry over the coming years.
- The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act allocated $19 billion for health information technology to support the move to electronic health records. For 2015 and later, Medicare-eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that do not successfully demonstrate meaningful use will have a payment adjustment in their Medicare reimbursement.
- The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act has set off a mad scramble among insurance companies, hospitals, and physicians to solidify their positions in the market.
- The creation of health insurance exchanges is set to give consumers unprecedented transparency into the market and control over their healthcare decisions.
Heath care professionals will need to become increasingly reliant on technology in order to connect with stakeholders, share information, and strengthen relationships with patients. So amid all this change and uncertainty, how should hospitals proceed on the technology front?
Here are four big ways hospitals can stay ahead of the curve, and prepare for the coming shifts:
Take a comprehensive approach: A multitude of stakeholders—including physicians, administrative staff, compliance experts and customers—will all need to access information. Rather than taking a piecemeal approach, hospitals should consolidate information in one database that provides information based on specific roles.
Invest in device-agnostic platforms: Over the coming years, functionality will continue to converge into more powerful devices. Hospitals should invest in systems and platforms that can deliver a distinctive user experience across PCs, tablets, smartphones, and whatever devices might emerge in the coming years.
Prepare for compliance: HIPAA and HITECH will compel hospitals to meet more stringent requirements for information sharing. Hospitals must ensure that their systems are able to aggregate and synthesize the needed data with minimal disruption to operations.
Keep the customer front of mind: Customers will increasingly turn to forums, social media, and reviews to select their healthcare providers. Hospitals must adopt a more consumer-centric approach, and find ways to stay connected in ways that add value.
Few industry observers are willing to predict how the healthcare industry landscape will look even three years from now. Hospitals that build the technology capabilities to stay flexible and evolve with emerging trends will come out ahead.