National Health IT Week Man with TabletAnyone who’s a participant of NHIT Week knows that technology has revolutionized the healthcare industry. From mHealth to telehealth, the hospital patient experience to senior care, health IT is popping up everywhere, to ultimately: make.care.better. Leading up to NHIT Week and during, we launched a survey as a good way to crowdsource to find out where it’s having the greatest impact! We asked:

What technology has played the biggest role in transforming patient care today?

What technology has the greatest potential for improving care in the future?

Your responses were as wide-ranging and colorful as the health IT community itself! Read on for what we heard.

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Today’s Patient Care Transformation

All of the responses we got to our first survey question revolved around key technologies enabling better patient engagement through digital health. They fell into three categories: mobile devices/wearables and corresponding apps, EHRs and analytics. Clearly tracking, storing and managing patient data in a meaningful way is what the healthcare industry considers vital to better quality care.

The underlying piece to this was both the timeliness of accessing and utilizing this information – as one respondent mentioned “interactive and real-time diagnostics” as playing a big role in transforming patient care. In addition, seamless connection and interoperability also hit home – “EHRs [that] serve as the foundation for all other electronic health connections” was what another respondent submitted as the most transformative tech of today.

Finally, one respondent noted the incredible impact of democratizing patient data access through digital tools:

“First it’s digitization of literature through tools like Dr. Google, WebMD, and other patient education tools that have democratized medical knowledge by pulling it out of the singular grasp of medical professionals into the hands of medical laypeople. Second it’s digitization of biology through genomics, the digitization of chemistry through digital pathology, and the digitization of imaging that allows easier and more accurate diagnostics by professionals.”

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Tomorrow’s Healthcare Evolution

As we look to the future, it’s clear that extending access and knowledge even further, as well as better leveraging resources and data, will define the path. Telemedicine, using robots to extend care resources and capabilities and Big Data analytics and predictive tools will be the next wave of change in the healthcare space. Remote monitoring and wearables received honorable mentions, and one person brought up the most important thing to remember in healthcare: invoking the human connection in the health IT equation – “Technology that enables personal management of our health in a user-friendly, useful way.”

We received two great responses related to predictive tools and personalized, precision medicine through population health analysis:

“Precision medicine and genomics probably has the most potential to improve care over the long term. Also, simply being able to identify specific opportunities for an individual to act on that will address immediate needs and longer term needs and them conveying these opportunities to the patient and following up to measure results will also have huge potential.”

“Continuous diagnostics devices like health wearables will generate data continually and allow “big data”, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) tools to provide diagnostics in real time. As digital tools allow improved early diagnoses through continually monitored, but generally transparent, treatments will get better because diseases will not have progressed as far before being treated.”

What areas of health IT did we miss? Where are you seeing the greatest impact in your corner of the healthcare world? Tell us @CDW_Healthcare on Twitter or via our LinkedIn Showcase page. And keep up on everything healthcare and senior care technology by subscribing to CommunIT.

And thanks to everyone who participated for making NHIT Week 2016 one for the books! Take a look back at all of our health IT coverage and insights throughout the week by checking out our NHIT Week page.

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