With the healthcare industry feeling the budget crunch, facilities are looking to strike a careful balance between the expense of staying up-to-date with technology and keeping a close eye on budget numbers. But even with concerns about money not likely to abate any time soon, the industry’s interest in upgrading systems and equipment doesn’t seem to be fading, either. Big data, mobile applications, inventory control, fixed asset management, and the need for cost savings appear to be driving most of the IT procurement.
This week, AT&T released its predictions for which IT trends will spark the most interest from the healthcare industry in 2013:
- The cloud is still making its presence known, as hospitals and other facilities continue to push patient health data in that direction. Data analytics is all but directing healthcare right now, as facilities work to improve patient care by utilizing data in innovative ways. Physicians are finding new ways to predict potential health risks by making new connections between patients with similar illnesses, treatments and outcomes.
- Remote-monitoring of patients with chronic illnesses is expected to become more prevalent. This will likely involve RFID technology, as it has already seen some use in helping facilities track newborns within hospital nurseries and patients suffering from dementia. Facilities have been using this sort of technology for the last several years through their asset management software and inventory management software, but it is being more commonly applied to monitoring humans as well.
- The telehealth market is expected to grow in order to meet the rising need for healthcare in remote areas or in places where there are not enough physicians to meet demand. We’ve already seen robotic surgeries that make the physical distance between surgeon and patient practically irrelevant; perhaps in the future, it will be more common for patients to be examined and diagnosed remotely as well.
Improving access to and usage of data appears to be the primary focus for healthcare agendas in 2013, something with which Dr. Geeta Nayyar, Chief Medical Officer at AT&T ForHealth, seems to agree: “Physicians make better treatment decisions and predictions based on better data, so we must have better access to information when patients need it the most. These kinds of technologies have the potential to help people make the shift from being reactive to being proactive with their care.”