“Vigorous,” “energetic” and “optimistic” are just a few words that characterize the current healthcare IT market, as more stakeholders across the spectrum consider how technology can help deliver higher quality healthcare more efficiently.
Emerging from the doldrums of poor corporate earnings and HIPAA compliance deadlines in the early part of the decade, the healthcare IT market is hot, as new—and not-so-new—technologies are finding adoption rates soar across all sectors.
Emergency preparedness, for example, took on new relevance this year as hurricanes blew holes in many organizations’ disaster recovery plans. Disease management strategies continue to gain supporters, too, as more health plans join federal initiatives to create incentives encouraging more preventive and interactive care. New technologies are still being explored, examined and evaluated as data sharing networks emerge across the country in response to the growing recognition that sharing patient data across institutional boundaries is critical.
Reflecting this spirit, many of the 2006 technologies are tightly linked and often touch each other as the entire industry shifts its focus from departmental silos to the individual patient. With growing adoption of electronic medical records among physician groups of all sizes, there is more hope that an electronic health record for every American may be a realistic goal.
In the following pages, we’ve compiled key technologies that highlight the transformation under way within the healthcare industry. There are others, of course, and it was no easy task narrowing to nine the candidates.
This annual exercise keeps us involved in research and analysis throughout the year. But we don’t do it alone. We also rely upon the advice of industry experts, including members of our editorial board. Of course, identifying a trend does not imply broad acceptance or widespread adoption. Therefore, you’ll find an objective review of each trend with input from both proponents and skeptics.