The medical world has historically witnessed its largest changes at the hands of innovative physicians, surgeons, nurses, and admin who served to reinvent medical practices of their time. While innovation in the operating room, emergency room, and beyond has certainly not slowed, it has received an enormous boost from the pioneering efforts of Health IT leaders.
As our National Health IT Week feature continues, DICOM Grid will be highlighting several different industry trends where improvements in health technology lead to a reduced rate of redundant radiology exams, an improved patient experience, and lower costs for patients and physicians alike. Inspired by an earlier MedTech Boston article outlining the top healthcare innovations of 2015, here we will explore some of the top Health IT movements and how they’re defining the medical world today!
The use of “Big Data” to solve big problems — as MedTech Boston points out in their article, “The Top 10 Healthcare Innovations of 2015”, currently 5% of patients account for about half of U.S. healthcare expenditures. The use of “big data” is serving to fuel algorithms in order to better classify and understand the differences between patients with similar medical conditions. Among the highest cost saving solutions being approached by the use of “big data” and these algorithms (in addition to ‘high-costs patients’) are readmissions, triage, decompensation, adverse events, and treatment optimization for diseases affecting multiple organ systems. According to Sean Benson, vice president of innovation and clinical solutions for Wolters Kluwer Health, “Future innovations in health IT, big data in particular, will focus on the aggregation and transformation of patient data into actionable knowledge that can improve patient and financial outcomes… comprehensive solutions will normalize, codify and aggregate patient data in a cloud system and run it against clinical scenarios to create evidence-based advice that is then delivered directly to the point of care via a variety of mobile devices.”
Increases in Telehealth usage based on greater reimbursement for Telemedicine and Digital health media — According to a May 2015 American Telemedicine Association article, this year the United States’ reached a milestone in that the majority (27 0f 50) U.S. states have enacted laws enforcing coverage for telemedicine provider-services. In addition, a recent letter from industry stakeholders written to the Senate encouraged support of a proposal that would lift “outdated restrictions” on use and reimbursement of telemedicine services for Medicare patients. Organizations signing onto the letter included, AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness and Stanford Healthcare. The development of legislative infrastructure surrounding the growth of Telemedicine in the U.S. and beyond is symbolic of its continued growth as a critical element in today’s medical world. As Health IT leaders continue to work alongside doctors and patients to refine telemedicine services, it’s future success remains in the hands of law-makers and physicians who will ultimately guide the assimilation of Telemedicine services with today’s existing practices.
Steady Growth in Digital Health funding — In the first three quarters of 2015, digital health funding has outpaced that of 2014, which was itself a record setting year for the industry. On track to top last years $4.1 billion in funding (a 125% increase from the year prior) the total in 2015 after three quarters rests at $3.3 billion heading into the fourth quarter. A mark of confidence in both the past successes and future aspirations of the Health IT and digital health arena, funding has certainly played an enormous factor in the growth witnessed throughout the industry. Other reassuring signs reported by Rock Health’s most recent report highlight the industry’s highest average deal size across a single quarter ($15.8 million) and an increase of initial public health offerings in the health IT segment. In reference to the growing number of companies raising money through IPOs, Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group stated, “Growth in public market financing is an encouraging sign for companies in this sector as it opens up another avenue for funding and an exit path for investors.”
As National Health IT week rolls on, it is important to highlight the incredible work of IT professionals and doctors that are working diligently to face the challenges of developing the best patient centered care practices. It is equally important to note the work being done by legislators, investors, nurses, patients, and thousands of others who each contribute in unique ways to the innovation we are all currently and will continue to witness in today’s medical world.