November 14, 2013 — As health IT leaders make their way to New York for the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) Digital Health Conference, Practice Fusion, the nation's largest healthcare platform, is looking at the key healthcare trend from 2013 and predicts what they might mean looking forward. With the ongoing Meaningful Use incentive push for health technology and the recent difficulty of many vendors to deliver on new and upcoming requirements, it's looking to be a big year for upheaval in the health IT sector, according to Practice Fusion.
Key predictions for the new year include:
Health IT incentives are here to stay
The Meaningful Use program incentivizing doctors and hospitals to use electronic health records (EHR) technology to improve care has already paid out billions for successful implementations. Requirements will grow tougher in 2014 not just for providers, but also for vendors who may not be able to upgrade their products in time.
Many practices will switch their EHR solutions
As many EHR vendors struggle to meet Meaningful Use requirements and keep medical professionals satisfied with their solutions, the next year will see competition and consolidation across the market. One in three practices are already dissatisfied with their existing EHR, half of whom plan to switch in the next year. Among current Practice Fusion providers, one in four say they have switched from other EHRs.
Health care will become more networked
Meaningful Use requirements demand that EHRs interface with labs, imaging centers, referrals and patients. For small practices maintaining their independence from hospitals, this will help give them the resources they need to thrive.
Billing will be easier in the cloud with ICD-10
With new billing code changes from ICD-9 to ICD-10 causing anxiety for providers, those equipped with flexible cloud-based systems will have more resources to make the change than those on paper or legacy EHR systems.
EMRs will power accountable care
A majority of doctors are now using EHR systems in their practices. The next few years will see those EHRs grow into more powerful clinical tools that will assist providers in improving outcomes. Cloud-based EHR vendors will be able to make these changes more rapidly.
Independent practices will emerge as the vanguard of innovation
With smaller teams and the ability to provide services like online housecalls, independent providers will soon be able to take advantage of lower-cost EHRs to provide more flexible and efficient services to patients.
"We're just seeing the start of how EHR will revolutionize the healthcare space," said Ryan Howard, CEO, Practice Fusion. "We anticipate that the hundreds of vendors in the space will consolidate to just dozens over the next year, resulting in tremendous opportunity to follow."
For more information: www.practicefusion.com