As this year’s Tour de France cyclists gear up for the final stages of the 2,197-mile race, we’ve been thinking about the twists and turns of the challenging route to better healthcare. Precision medicine, telehealth and next-generation EHRs are among technologies leading the way in this week’s HIT List.

  1. The evidence is in. Telehealth consults are most effective when used for remote patient monitoring of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, as well as psychotherapy, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) concluded after combing through existing data. Mortality and quality of life improved, and hospital admissions were reduced through telehealth, but information about its impact on cost and utilization remains limited. Moving forward, researchers recommend taking a look at the value of practice-level telehealth implementation.
  2. Preemptive precision medicine. It’s becoming more important to include patient genotyping in the EHR in the face of mounting evidence that genetic variations may play a role in the effectiveness of different antidepressant medications and contribute to adverse events. With more than 20 FDA-approved treatments available, Mayo Clinic researchers say knowing the patient genotype can help guide clinician selection of the best drug and ideal dosage, improving patient safety.
  3. Bridging the digital health divide. Fitbits, healthy eating apps or even the ability to email healthcare providers is of little help to lower-income or homeless patients who can’t afford fancy hardware and have little or no access to reliable Internet. A small but growing number of digital initiatives seeks to address the problem creatively, often relying more heavily on text messaging and other cellphone-based solutions to help patients stay healthier. Sounds like a market worth exploring for digital health entrepreneurs, who attracted an estimated $4.5 billion in venture funding last year.
  4. MACRA metrics, micro reporting fatigue. After weighing nearly 100 public comments on how to best measure interoperability, the ONC recently released two metrics, as required by MACRA. One measures the proportion of healthcare providers who electronically engage in sending, receiving, finding and integrating information from outside sources. The other measures the proportion of those who report using the information for clinical decision-making. Here’s hoping they meet the goal of mitigating the provider burden for additional reporting.
  5. EHR wish list. As consumer adoption of IoT tools such as wearable fitness trackers, mHealth apps and Bluetooth monitors soars, providers are looking to invest in next-generation EHR offerings that feature the ability to integrate IoT data for clinical decision-making, says a series of new market reports. Demand for predictive analytics is also high for providers in the market for EHR upgrades. With compound annual growth predicted at a minimum of 5%, EHR industry value is expected to top $28 billion globally by the end of the decade.


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