We’re predicting plenty of intriguing developments in health IT for 2015. Our first HIT List of the new year starts off strong with an introduction to new trends like personalized medicine and gamification, and a closer look at advances in familiar technologies such as mHealth, cloud tools and virtual care.

  1. Wake-up call on app fatigue. To make sure physicians and patients don’t get tired of — or overwhelmed by — a rash of mHealth tools, practices should take an intentional and integrated approach to onboarding. Check out these four tips for moving beyond just downloading apps to actually using them to add value, boost efficiency and improve care.
  2. Merger mania breeds IT challenges. Interoperability — or more specifically, the lack of it — poses one of the biggest issues when healthcare organizations merge. With mergers predicted to continue at an accelerated pace, that means figuring out cost-effective ways for clinical data, financial transactions and other information to flow seamlessly and securely between different systems. Do you see increased pressure for standardization on the horizon?
  3. Telemedicine’s perfect storm. Physician adoption of telemedicine seems poised to soar to new heights, thanks to a convergence of critical factors. These include CMS’s expanded reimbursement plans for Medicare beneficiaries, the exponential growth of mobile technologies, and recent research that documents the ability of telemedicine to improve care and reduce costs. How ready are you to deliver virtual care?
  4. Home health up on cloud tools. 30% of home health agencies say cloud-based tools and online platforms will help improve their businesses and their patient care. Key reasons include enabling on-the-go data access from more devices, automating complicated coding processes, and gathering and leveraging data. Sounds like sky-high potential, doesn’t it?
  5. Home caregivers get connected. 41% of caregivers in U.S. broadband households routinely use a digital health device to aid their efforts, a recent study reports. Electronic panic buttons top the list of appealing devices for current and future caregivers. Enthusiasm is also high for electronic pill boxes, webcams, online care coordination tools and electronic watches that can track wearers, detect falls and call for help. Which devices do you think will boost patient safety most effectively?
  6. Moving in a positive direction. Senior living providers are making great strides when it comes to embracing technology. Nearly 77% of the 150 largest nonprofit providers now use electronic point-of-care documentation systems, 74.7% use EMR technology and 73% have implemented access control or wander management systems. But there’s still room for improvement, given that barely one-fifth use medication monitoring technologies and a mere 4% use telehealth or remote patient monitoring. Will care coordination improve with wider IT adoption in this sector?
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