In healthcare IT and healthcare in general, it’s really easy to be pessimistic about the future of healthcare. We know we spend far too much on healthcare and there are no easy solutions to the problems we face. If there were easy solutions, we would have implemented them long ago. Plus, doctors and hospitals are faced with an ongoing wave of regulation. From meaningful use to ICD-10 to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), they are overwhelmed by government regulation. Despite this, I’m optimistic about the future of healthcare IT. I describe why in this video.
While some might argue that the possible ICD-10 delay would indicate an unstable regulatory environment for healthcare IT, I’d still suggest that most healthcare organizations will be able to take the delay in stride if it happens. Some might argue that a delay in ICD-10 will actually free up organizations to really capitalize on their health IT investment since they won’t be busy training and preparing for ICD-10. Either way, I believe we’re in a more stable health IT regulatory environment than we’ve ever seen before and that presents a tremendous opportunity for healthcare to start capitalizing on its health IT investments.
The reality for most healthcare organizations is that they have to start capitalizing on their health IT investments. On the high end, hospitals have invested billions of dollars in EHR software and on the low end tens of thousands of dollars by a solo practice. Now they need to start finding ways to provide a return on that investment. Plus, the shift to value based reimbursement is really going to require us to push the envelope when it comes to our application of technology in healthcare.
I just hope that we don’t focus all our EHR optimization efforts on healthcare costs. Yes, we all know we need to bring the cost of healthcare down, but there’s more to healthcare than just reimbursement and costs. I predict that some of our greatest medical discoveries will come from EHR software.
I’m not sure that these medical discoveries will come from the EHR vendors themselves, but will likely come from a wave of entrepreneurs who get their hands on the data stored in these EHR systems. 15 years from now, the EHR vendors that survive will be those companies that embrace their role as the database of healthcare. Many EHR vendors are afraid to embrace this approach, but look at Salesforce and see how powerful it’s been for them to embrace this business model.
As an entrepreneur myself, I’m excited about all the opportunities that are available in healthcare IT. While the medical establishment is a unique one, there are thousands of opportunities to use technology to improve healthcare and our healthcare system. When you combine those opportunities with a wave of new technologies, sensors, and devices, it is easy to be optimistic about the future of healthcare IT.