Will Google or Apple acquire an EMR in 2018? This and 4 more IT predictions from University Health System CMIO Dr. Maulik Purohit

As senior vice president and chief medical information officer at San Antonio-based University Health System, Maulik Purohit, MD, MPH, is constantly thinking of how new technologies can enable better care and meet government regulations.

But, Dr. Purohit doesn't think of government regulations as burdens. Rather, he views them as an impetus for applying an out-of-the-box mindset to health IT. And, he wants to leverage his role as a CMIO to improve regulations and benefit the industry as a whole.

"[I'm] interested in … how to work with the government to improve some of the incentives and benefits, like how do we establish factors that can move healthcare in the right direction through this position?  Currently, some of the incentives are more IT-based rather than patient engagement and health improvement based.  I think we need to rethink the overarching goals in this regard." he says.

Dr. Purohit recently shared with Becker's Hospital Review five IT predictions for the year ahead.

1. One or two EHR will vendors will dominate. "I definitely think consolidation of the EMR — and this has already happened — into two main vendors will command the next few years. Right now, Cerner and Epic dominate the industry, but there's still roughly a 50 percent split among the other vendors. Allscripts was a dominant force before, but now is much further behind. So, do we see a consolidation of IT products (not just the EMR) that makes it easier for healthcare information and data transfer from institute to institute?"

2. Bring your own data is back. "I see a shift back to bring your own data, but from an IT perspective. Having apps on our phones that know our health information, blood pressure, etc." Whereas patients used to carry their paper chart from clinic to clinic, now they will use health apps to enhance their care and transport their data, he adds.

3. Up-to-the-minute biometric readings will improve care delivery. "Previously, you'd have a blood pressure reading from a physician when you'd have a clinic visit once every three months, and a lot of decisions would be based on that. Now, you can have daily readings or even minute-to-minute readings and a whole host of parameters from blood pressure to nutrition to all the lifestyle factors that can help support health or negate health. You have the potential for much better data to guide decision making"

4. IT will help engage patients. "Through IT, patients will have the tools to be more knowledgeable and able to be active in their own care." Advancements in patient portals and other health apps will intrigue patients and only drive their engagement up more, he adds.

5. Non-conventional players will move into EHR development. "Lastly, my bold prediction is that either Google, Amazon or Apple (or the equivalents) will get into the EMR space by purchasing one of the major EMR vendors. I think there are potentially huge benefits to this happening."

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