Prediction: Five ways healthcare IT is changing in 2013

Every New Year brings the promise of change, but even though it’s still early, when it comes to the world of health IT, 2013 is already bringing more change – much more change – than ever before.

For providers, payers and vendors, this year is presenting opportunities and challenges. With that in mind, Sandlot Solutions, a leader in helping healthcare stakeholders operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, offers its predictions as to what the biggest changes will ultimately be.

1. Analytics and business intelligence are deemed necessary to improve care and manage risk.
In 2013, it will become increasingly clear that the future of healthcare for providers will revolve around being able to measure both the level of financial risk and the quality of outcomes in providing care for patients. Consequently, providers will search for technological solutions that can help them do more evidence-based medicine at the point of care. One such solution is Sandlot’s Digital Envelope, which is designed to be seamlessly integrated at the point of care, within the clinician’s normal workflow, in the electronic health record, thus providing extensive information, both claims-oriented and clinical, for a rich view of patient history.

2. The footprint for accountable care organizations (ACOs) takes a giant leap forward.
Just consider the numbers:  Not so long ago there were 32 Pioneer ACOs that had been approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Then there were 89.  Now, there are hundreds of organizations across the country officially designated as ACOs.

In other words, an increasing number of healthcare organizations are taking the core tenets of healthcare reform – improve care and reduce costs – to heart.  The result is a rapidly expanding landscape of alliances, consisting of providers and payers of all types, who are banding together to share the responsibility for patients.

3. Behavioral health gets better integrated into the broader healthcare continuum.
It shouldn’t have to come to this, but among the many lessons learned following the shooting tragedies at Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., will be the fact that for too long mental health services have been kept at a distance from broader healthcare services.  With the increased demand for better integration of mental health services will come the need to incorporate technological solutions that will enable behavioral health data to be treated more readily and yet still receive the special privacy and security consideration it requires.

4. Healthcare organizations will be forced to band together to survive reform.
Traditionally, providers and payers alike have been reluctant at best to share patient data.  But in order to provide better and more efficient care for patients, the information that has long been considered the property of one organization or another will need to be available anytime, anywhere. To give the best care, providers must know what care has been provided before, from diagnostic tests to prescriptions to recent emergency incidents.  Health information technology streamlines this process and further offers the opportunity for increased use of  business intelligence and decision support.

5. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing models gaining market share.
It’s simple: The demand for comprehensive, readily available information is going to dovetail with the rise of technological advances such as Software-as-a-Service (Saas) and cloud computing. Why? Because those technologies can be easily, and comparatively inexpensively, integrated into existing IT infrastructures to ensure both maximum ease of use and optimal security. 

The future of healthcare, both in 2013 and beyond, will increasingly revolve around using information, business intelligence and analytics to provide better, more efficient patient care. With its unique focus on both healthcare information exchange (HIE), care management and analytics, Sandlot Solutions is prepared to help healthcare stakeholders access and utilize a broad range of information to make their organizations as effective and efficient as possible.