The healthcare landscape is undergoing substantial changes as systems are being driven by rapid advances in mobile platforms, health information technology, and social media. Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Group CEO, Greyhound Research states that with the emergence of Electronic health records (EHRs), clinical documentation tools and telemedicine devices, the need for a robust IT infrastructure as well as new IT policies has picked up in the healthcare industry, with healthcare organizations are now striving to provide more flexible and cost-effective care.
According to him, the CIOs in the healthcare segment will be influenced by the following IT trends in the upcoming year:
Mobility management to get critical: The consumerisation of IT and BYOD (bring-your-own-device) culture in the workplace has proven beneficial for the healthcare industry, allowing providers to access patient data, billing information, clinical trial data and employee information on the go. With BYOD now becoming a mainstream trend in healthcare industry, it will get important for the organizations to address IT infrastructure, as well as evaluate the compliance issues. Health organizations will concentrate on identifying privacy and mobile device risk management strategies and conducting security and device awareness training for employees.
Deploying healthcare analytics: Healthcare enterprises are expected to increase investments in deploying healthcare analytics. This will help IT, finance, quality department and operational teams to monitor activities in their respective departments and also help operational team to aggregate data from multiple silos to deliver dashboards and scorecards to care providers and management.
Data centre consolidation in hospitals: IT departments in many healthcare organizations are actively assessing opportunities to install more clinical systems and integrate new options like virtualization. The CIOs in the healthcare sector are now realizing that the cost to support the mechanical and electrical infrastructure for distributed computing is restrictive. To keep the operating costs to minimum, major healthcare chains are expected to consolidate their dispersed data systems and help desk functions.
Regular upgradation of ERP Systems – Healthcare being a complex sector always has a constant influx of new patients and new technologies, and therefore the existing systems need to be upgraded regularly for efficient performance and functionality. It is also vital for hospitals to improve the information flow and communications between departments and doctors in order to provide timely and correct care. A successful ERP change will help the organizations to stay competitive in the ever changing healthcare space. With real-time integrations to clinical systems and bi-directional flows of data, ERP systems can make healthcare organizations more efficient and responsive at delivering their services both, internally and externally.
Increased investment in patient experience management– An effective patient experience management not only reduces cost, but attracts revenue as well. Healthcare organizations will increase their IT investments to offer more visibility into medical outcomes, physical ratings, services offered and in the cost of treatment involved. Adoption of channels like self service portals that facilitate a patient to book appointments online will also be increasingly adopted by healthcare institutions. Utilization of social media platforms like Facebook for promotional activities is too expected to gain traction.
Increasing operational performance with Business Intelligence (BI) – BI tools help to measure a hospital’s operational performance, by providing key information to managers for budgeting, status of requisitions, and patient visitation analytics. Big hospital chains will invest on implementing the top BI tools to provide exceptional customer experiences as well as gaining access to historical trends, current operations and predictive analysis to stay ahead in the competition.
Merging IT with business activities – The healthcare sector will improve focus on implementing a suitable organization specific IT framework as well as engaging relevant technology heads, staff and vendors to derive business value from IT. Clearly-defined IT and business roles in the organization will result in better health outcomes and effective cost containment.
According to Gogia, “While Information and Communications Technology has made waves across the globe, its potential still remains largely untapped in the health sector especially among small and rural hospitals. The health based institutions will have to stress on adopting IT products and services depending on their long term validity to avoid negative outcomes of the volatile IT health space.” Training staff on complex system interactions as well as providing supplementary training based on hospital specific processes will also be crucial for the health care vertical to reap the true benefits of IT implementation, he sums up.