The North American health IT market continues to ramp up to the $104 billion it’s expected to reach by 2020, and that’s largely driven by the healthcare providers trying to solve regulatory requirements, rising costs and the push toward better patient outcomes.
This year, analysts predict the following advancements as the healthcare world keeps driving toward those goals.
- Continued focus on security and compliance following last year’s additional HIPAA audits and governmental guidelines on HIPAA and cloud computing. Health services remained the target of 39 percent of all cybersecurity breaches last year. As one solution, more healthcare data is expected to be moved to the cloud.
- More solutions via analytics and informatics, or better storage and optimization of big data for actionable insights related to cost control, malpractice claims, lab testing and overall quality of care.
- Greater implementation of mobile devices for healthcare (i.e., “mHealth”). As of 2015, 32 percent of consumers were using at least one medical, healthcare or fitness app, a trend continually optimized for better, faster patient engagement and care delivery.
- Increased use of telemedicine, including more physician/patient video consultations. Some 58 percent of clinicians would prefer to provide some patient care virtually.
- Optimization of remote monitoring for patients’ blood pressure, heart rate and other metrics.
- More interoperability, defined as the capacity for different IT systems and software applications to exchange and use valuable data. One goal is better interchange of electronic health record systems, allowing for more efficient delivery of new therapies to the right patients. Last year the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) asked for widespread adoption of a national patient identifier system that could help.
- The IoT is charted to continue to grow exponentially, such that the parsing of algorithms will become increasingly important to optimizing information. “More sensors, bioassays, genetic sequencing, home health-monitoring devices and behavioral data logged in mHealth apps mean more data to sort and store,” notes Shaun Sutner on Techtarget.com.
- The use of genetic or molecular profiling to fine-tune medical care will expand, enabling prevention and treatment geared toward individuals’ specific genes, environments and lifestyles.
- Health investments were slightly down in Q4 of 2016, with 64 deals closed compared to 88 in Q4 2015. But ramped-up spending is expected this year on biotech and health device startups, says Sarah Buhl on Techcrunch.com, pointing to 28 to 32 biopharma IPO deals already slated for 2017. Similarly, a Rock Health report predicts an uptick in telemedicine, wearables and other health monitoring devices. “While overall exits declined in 2016, we expect to see a significant number of M&A transactions and a continued IPO window in line with recent activity as we enter the new year,” adds Jon Norris of Silicon Valley Bank on Techcrunch. “Robust investor fundraising activity in the past year also highlights the health of the market, and we believe the healthcare sector remains vibrant as it enters 2017.”