Last week, consulting and market research firm IDC Health Insights offered up its predictions for 2014. Among the intriguing observations: Healthcare provider IT organizations also are moving from “doing IT” to managing portfolios of IT service providers, IDC finds. They are rebalancing key roles among their portfolio service providers to avoid becoming too dependent on any one.
Another observation: the first generation of EHRs will continue to fall short of the expectations of users because they don’t optimize operations for a post-health reform marketplace.
Judy Hanover, research director, noted that 58 percent of surveyed providers were dissatisfied or neutral about their EHR and 22 percent have already replaced the EHR. She said providers would increasingly move away from monolithic systems to platforms with more nimble API technologies and would also look beyond their EHR supplier for analytics, mobile, cloud and financials.
Another prediction was that providers’ underinvestment in business continuity, data recovery and security will come home to roost.
Hanover said providers would no longer be able to avoid investing in business continuity and disaster recovery. Breaches and system failures will become a major focus for top execs. “The EHR is truly mission critical,” she said, “and needs to be treated like mission critical applications in other industries, including multi-location backup. In 2014, she said, more providers will have business continuity in place. Cloud computing will be seen as an opportunity to provide more robust security than legacy on-premise IT options.
Yet another prediction is that providers will accelerate adoption of operations management industrial best practices, such as Six Sigma and Lean in an effort to cut waste and redeploy resources to ensure higher quality patient care. These efforts are occurring in medication supply chain, asset management, revenue management, patient flow, and laboratory management, said IDC’s Massimiliano Claps, EMEA Research Director for IDC Health Insights. “A key challenge is to make these practices sustainable over time,” he said. “Change management and executive leadership are required to engrain the benefits.”