Health IT Will Proliferate Despite Changes to Healthcare Reform Legislation
With the election of President Donald Trump, who campaigned on a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), in addition to Congressional legislative attempts to do so, speculation and uncertainty about the future of healthcare continues to grow among stakeholders. The good news for health information management (HIM) professionals, however, is that in the Harvard Business Review article “3 Health Care Trends That Don’t Hinge on the Affordable Care Act,” two of the three trends identified included the use of health IT systems and the use of health data.
The three trends identified by the paper’s authors are:
- The byproducts of a rapidly aging population and the resources required to meet their needs
- Health technology, including electronic health records (EHRs), wearable health devices, and mobile health applications
- Development in life sciences combined with the use of individual health data will lead to advances in precision and personalized medicine
The last two trends have clear implications for HIM. The article notes that patient engagement has been a goal of all healthcare organizations, but it’s also been a priority for HIM, in terms of encouraging patients to engage with advances such as patient portals. The article notes the increase in health technology startups and third-party investments in new technologies.
“We believe models will emerge that capture value from the growing consumer demand for effective digital health-promotion support. Solutions that drive patient engagement and improve outcomes will succeed in the marketplace,” the authors wrote.
The authors also tout innovations in telemedicine for rural health, monitoring individuals with chronic conditions, and treating the elderly.
Personalized medicine is taking root through proliferation of EHRs and the technologies aimed at making them more interoperable and accessible to application developers. In particular it points to standards such as application programming interfaces (APIs) and the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). APIs and FHIR specifications allow for the transfer of clinical data, which enables providers to access patient data across systems.
“Uncertainty surrounding the health care bill shouldn’t have a material effect on the success of various solutions. Indeed, with the current government gridlock, the rapid development of and growing demand for new health care technologies may help policy makers chart the course forward,” the authors concluded.