Temperatures around the U.S. are starting to drop — a sure sign that the year is coming to a close — but that isn’t stopping the health IT scene from heating up. From drones and promising government plans around interoperability to exploding telehealth app growth and health IT predictions for 2016, this week’s HIT List sizzles with trending healthcare topics.

  1. Healthcare takes flight. Drones are flying into the healthcare scene, already showing potential by delivering medical supplies much more quickly to patients who normally would have had to wait days. These devices could very well become valuable everyday tools used to help seniors care for themselves. Could drones be the innovative solution needed to help care for the growing Baby Boomer generation?
  2. Interoperability the goal for 2016. We’ve been hearing about health information exchanges (HIEs) for years now, but the ONC is focusing on “near-term challenges” to finally make it a reality in 2016. The plan includes making data readily available and usable for patients, EHRs easier to use and more standardized, and ensuring the market is more transparent. Let’s hope it’s more action and less talk on interoperability.
  3. The Year of Telehealth. At a recent American Bar Association Washington Health Law Summit, experts declared 2016 as the year of telehealth — meaning they expect telehealth to finally live up to its hype as an innovative technology to make a market impact. It’s predicted that many organizations will turn to available telehealth applications to help save money. Is 2016 the year of telehealth? Only time will tell.
  4. A healthcare crystal ball. While we can only speculate on what the next year might look like for the healthcare industry, Fortune magazine went a step further by preparing 10 predictions for 2016. From the FTC blocking a major hospital merger and hospitals reducing use of some population health management tools to end-of-life care gaining much more public attention, find out what else is expected to happen over the next 12 months.
  5. Team-based care impacting EHR tech adoption. A recent studyrevealed that 75% of physician practices that employ advanced practice providers (APPs), such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, have adopted EHR technology. Researchers hypothesize that the APPs’ team-based approach helps with EHR adoption, and those practices also see greater clinical efficiency. A team approach for better care coordination? Makes sense to us.
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