HIT in 2013: 2 Areas to Watch

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The healthcare industry made major progress in terms of health information technology implementation in 2012. Many hospitals and physicians began meeting meaningful use stage 1, and the final rules for stage 2 meaningful use were released. Also, hospitals and providers made great strides to implement electronic health records, use telemedicine, introduce mobile health and build or participate in health information exchanges.

As the New Year approaches, it is safe to assume that the healthcare industry will continue to break barriers through health IT — lowering cost, improving quality and expanding access to healthcare services. Here, Colin Barry, CEO of Medfx, a provider of health information systems, discusses two areas in health IT he thinks will exhibit immense growth and development going forward.

1. Health information exchange. The healthcare industry has been moving toward health information exchange for a long time, and as more health reform initiatives take effect, the prevalence of HIE between providers is likely to increase.

According to Mr. Barry, the push for standards-based health information exchange is not new. It dates back to 2004, when President George W. Bush appointed David Brailer as National Health Information Technology Coordinator in conjunction with an executive order calling for widespread deployment of health information technology within 10 years.

"What followed was a body of work creating standards for HIE on a national basis. It was early pioneering work that involved exchanging health information in private healthcare settings for active and non-active military," says Mr. Barry.

Progress with HIE within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilitated the ability to move data across all healthcare organizations, says Mr. Barry. The acceleration in HIE also empowered hospitals and physicians to meet higher quality goals. Mr. Barry believes this will continue to occur, which will cause more development of new reimbursement models.

2. Population health management. According to Mr. Barry, population health management has emerged as one solution for the healthcare industry's out-of-control spending. For this reason, trends in health IT and HIE are mirroring the movement, pushing the industry to oversee patients through the entire healthcare ecosystem, and to have the data to back that up.

"From a data perspective, many physicians only have a single view of a patient. [However], it is integral for physicians to have the full picture at the point of care. HIE allows the right information to be present so physicians can close gaps in information and improve quality of care for the patient," says Mr. Barry. "Going forward, there will continue to be more incentives for physicians to know what happens to their patient other than in under their direct care," says Mr. Barry.

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4 Ways Mobile Technology Can Improve Care
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