It’s hard to have a conversation about healthcare software trends without talking about disruption. And it’s not just pundits analyzing how to address current challenges or the directions technology will take healthcare in the future. There are discussions in the doctor’s office waiting room where patients are learning to check in by using a fingerprint scanner, in the ER where RNs access patients’ medical histories from other healthcare providers, and at the urgent care center where patients insert their EMV chip cards in a kiosk to settle their co-pays.
Although there’s a multitude of predictions for how healthcare IT will advance into the next decade, there are three main healthcare trends software developers need to keep in mind that will help you focus on the best ways to invest your time, talent, and resources to get the highest return.
Change Driven by Patients
The retail world has been rocked by changes in consumer behavior. Once they had a taste of online and mobile shopping where they were recognized, served up relevant offers, and had easy access to information to make decisions, they realized how convenient shopping could be.
Well, consumers are also patients.
Patients (especially millennials) have limited patience for having to fill out paper forms, providing the same information to healthcare providers repeatedly, following a circuitous maze to get to the bottom of a healthcare issue, and not having easy access to their healthcare providers or their medical records.
Mark T. Bertolini, Aetna chairman and CEO, explained why this is among the most critical healthcare industry trends in his keynote at the U.S. News Best Hospitals’ Healthcare of Tomorrow conference: “If I were to ask, ‘Who disrupted retail?’ You’d say Amazon. Or, ‘Who has disrupted mobile technology?’ Well, it was Apple. That’s not true. The only way that industries get disrupted is when you build a compelling customer experience and service offering that they want to use over and over and over again. Then they disrupt the industry.”
Focus on making patient experiences easier and more convenient with the solutions you provide to align with this healthcare industry trend.
Examples of Patient-Centric Solutions
- Telemedicine for more convenient management of chronic conditions and triage
- Convenient payment options
- Digital health such as fitness trackers and mobile health apps
- Chatbots that quickly provide information or promptly direct patients to the correct healthcare provider
- Integration of patient-provided information with EHRs.
Change Driven by the Search for Better Care
One of the most revolutionary healthcare trends is implementing technology that can enable faster diagnosis, better patient care, and better outcomes. Healthcare providers are looking for ways to improve healthcare professionals’ skills, gain faster, more accurate insights, and find ways to integrate these capabilities with existing systems.
Examples of Care-Focused Solutions
- Artificial intelligence (AI) for diagnosis
- Augmented reality (AR) to enhance healthcare professional training
- Machine learning that can quickly study scans for abnormalities
- Big data applied at the patient, health system, and community level
- Fast healthcare interoperability resources (FHIR) and blockchain for secure information exchange
Change Driven by the Will to Survive
We’re not talking about patients here. We’re talking about healthcare businesses.
Healthcare, with all its humanitarian goals, must generate enough revenue to stay in business. That often means seeing as many patients as possible, scheduling as many procedures as possible, managing inventory as frugally as possible, and doing more without increasing staff whenever possible.
The challenges of trying to improve the bottom line while managing the growing demand from an aging population, staff shortages, and rising costs can be overwhelming. A significant healthcare industry trend is to find ways to automate processes and save time and money.
Examples of Efficiency- and Productivity-Enhancing Solutions
- Patient identification solutions with real-time location systems or RFID technology
- Internet of Things (IoT) solutions that create smart systems for automation and accuracy
- Secure systems that prevent security breaches rather than mitigate damage after they occur
- Healthcare mobility that helps save more time for patients and improves secure communication among staff
- Data analytics that optimizes staff offices
As you choose the direction your ISV company will take with healthcare solutions, evaluate them against the potential value they will offer the healthcare industry by improving patient experiences, patient care and outcomes, or the day-to-day operation of healthcare facilities. By focusing on these trends, which are primarily driven by industry challenges, you can steer your healthcare software toward greater revenue.