News Feature | June 7, 2016

8 Mid-year HIT Trends To Watch

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Healthcare Trends

Trend lists can seem like a complete waste of your time as a vendor, but don’t jump to any conclusions — your clients are on the same Internet you are, working to stay on top of the cutting-edge conversation in healthcare. So, while many lists can seem like the same information regurgitated for the umpteenth time, what they really contain are clues to key topics that are top-of-mind for your clients.

That said, not all lists are created equal, which is why we’ve taken a recent trend list from HealthData Management and re-ranked the trends according to what matters most to you as a healthcare IT vendor.


This has topped healthcare lists for years now, but it’s not going away. According to a recent Ponemon Institute report, a full 90 percent of healthcare organizations indicated that they’d been subject to a data breach within the previous two years, and another 45 percent indicated they’d had more than five data breaches in the same time period. Keep in mind this not only covers electronic concerns, but also that of physical records that are still prevalent in many offices.

Reimbursement Changes

While this isn’t directly related to IT, it will be a concern for any provider that’s dealing with CMS. In an effort to further value-based care, CMS has announced its Comprehensive Primary Care Plus Program (CPC+) to improve primary care. It’s also proposed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA, which includes the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS) for eligible clinicians. Decision-makers will need support in the IT department around all of these changes.

Unique Patient Identifier

This one isn’t quite under way yet, but it likely has the attention of quite a few of your clients. Unique Patient Identifiers (UPIs) are being pushed by CHIME as a solution that will achieve 100 percent certainty in matching patients with their health records. According to CEO Russ Branzell, “Somewhere in this country right now, someone is being harmed, injured or possibly killed, just due to misidentification. That’s how grave the issue is today.”


This falls under general security, but is especially important for smaller organizations these days. Incidents of ransomware attacks on smaller healthcare organizations are increasing as cybercriminals realize that they are some of the most vulnerable targets in the industry. The FCC has issued cybersecurity tips to small businesses (healthcare organizations included) but these organizations are sure to be in need of more sophisticated IT solutions and vendors who understand their particular challenges.


If interoperability is anything, it’s here to stay. MACRA mandates “widespread” use of EHRs by the end of 2018 in the name of interoperability, leaving many healthcare organizations on a countdown to catch up. Multiple healthcare agencies, including HHS are driving forces behind the progress toward greater interoperability, so it’s not something any organization (or vendor servicing them) can ignore.

Data Storage

Data storage frequently gets pushed to the back burner in these healthcare discussions, but it connects to multiple items on this list. It will only grow in importance as EHR use increases, and patients begin to get in on the data generation game. We’re also seeing more sophisticated imaging storage needs and genomic information further complicating the storage question. Many of your clients will soon be asking questions around capacity as well as database structure and, of course, security.

Meaningful Use

The proposal of MACRA means that MU is shifting — that shift will almost definitely mean changes in IT needs. We’re still waiting to see just what MACRA will mean for hospitals, but clues might be available for those paying attention to its impact on eligible professionals.

Genomic Information

This might not be the biggest concern for your clients right now, but it’s making waves in the industry. The Precision Medicine Initiative is pushing to enroll 1 million Americans in a national cohort, which of course will mean massive amounts of data, some of which will come from EHRs. That all amounts to questions around access, query-based exchanges, and other IT challenges. Thankfully though, most vendors won’t have to worry about these particular questions any time soon.