As healthcare IT becomes increasingly driven by factors including security, analytics and interoperability, industry leaders are looking ahead at what trends and technologies are likely to lead in 2016.
Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher at ESET, suggests healthcare IT managers will be under pressure from three-letter acronyms on three sides: Fresh OCR HIPAA audits and penalties; more aggressive FDA action on vulnerable medical devices and pseudo-medical apps; and FTC action against at least one wearable or IoT device or app used in wellness programs. “Next year,” he adds, “we may also see the responsible disclosure debate hit healthcare IT.”
James Carder, CISO, LogRhythm, vice president of LogRhythm Labs, adds he sees healthcare IT security spending doubling over the spend of 2015 and the increased hiring of CISOs, while healthcare IT security still continues to fall further behind the rest of the industry verticals.
With that potential backdrop for the coming year, here is where some see the technology heading:
Adaptive security architecture is likely to play a larger role in 2016, David Cearley, vice president and Garner Fellow at Gartner Group, told Information Management, arguing reactive perimeter defense is no longer adequate, particularly as more data and applications are moved to the cloud. “IT leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats, as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks,” he says.
“Security, privacy, and identity will rule in 2016,” agrees nonprofit industry alliance DirectTrust. It warns that as electronic health information exchange increases, participants will demand increasingly rigorous certification, accreditation, and audit of security and identity controls. “Awareness of identity in cyberspace risks will become a conscious concern for everyone in healthcare,” the organization states.
"2016 will be the year in which cognitive computing transforms healthcare,” says Dr. Darren Schulte, CEO for healthcare data science company Apixio. “Until now, healthcare has had a significant data problem, essentially living in the data dark ages with 80% of the patient narrative being locked in an unstructured mess of multiple EHR systems and locations, and even in scanned forms. All that information is going untapped to develop and deliver better care. Cognitive computing will change this status quo as it's increasingly used to access and analyze patient data to improve care delivery. With cognitive computing, care providers will have timely access to a more complete patient care profile so they can deliver truly personalized care.”
Physicians turning to mHealth
“Up to this point, consumers have been more advanced regarding mHealth than the medical public,” says Steven Willey, MD, chief scientist at YouPlus Health.
“They have experimented with various health applications, testing out which ones work best with their daily routines. In general, doctors have been less involved. They have not fully embraced mHealth up to this point mainly because there has not been an abundance of medically proven applications out there that they could trust. In 2016, this will begin to change. We have hit a point where some mHealth applications are more reliable and doctors will begin to integrate the ones they trust into their practice.”
Some others are voicing similar views. Frost & Sullivan researchers told Forbes they expect next generation wearables to hit a $6 billion market due to improved clinical utility, adding their consumer research shows that about 24% of consumers currently use mobile apps for health and wellness, 16% use wearable sensors, and 29% use electronic personal health records.
Meanwhile, the Apigee Institute’s recently released 2015 Digital Impact Survey finds 60% of adult smartphone owners in the U.S. (and 71% of millennials) say smartphones and apps have changed the way they manage their health and wellness, while 49% now want their physicians to use their collected data.
The new mandates regarding quality measures and efficiencies under pay-for-performance models necessitate greater visibility into clinical data and a new level of interoperability between providers and the systems they use to inform patient treatment, says Jitterbit CTO Ilan Sehayek.
“2016 will be the year that healthcare providers and the supply chain that supports them share and analyze data to improve the quality of patient care and find data-driven recommendations to improve patient care,” he says.
DirectTrust’s predictions include the emergence of consumer participation in HIEs, increased interoperability of federal/state agencies with private-sector providers, and the “freeing” of health data via electronic access, driving the creation of patient-facing applications that utilize the big data aspects of their information.
DirectTrust President and CEO Dr. David Kibbe, MD, MBA, suggests this will lead to as yet unimagined enrichments in consumer and professional uses. “This will not happen linearly,” he says. “Rather it will grow explosively, and then suffer hiccups and setbacks as the privacy and security risks of such systems are first exposed, and then dealt with. But it is going to happen.”