The State of Healthcare IT | Emerging Trends and Future Forecasts

Good news for healthcare IT professionals.

Healthcare operators are emerging from the slog of record keeping by using electronic health record technology to improve safety and efficiency and improve disparities.

The last few years have been tough on health IT innovators and established vendors, especially as the provider market was negatively affected by a number of outside factors:

  • Electronic Health Record deployments (that is, the switch from paper to electronic records) finally wound down, which means that many facilities have paused system updates, which means they fall behind in manpower and innovation.

  • Obamacare wasn’t able to deliver the anticipated increases in funding for many providers, which has also led to a decrease in revenue.

  • Nothing compelling has emerged from innovators by way of new, reasonably proven solutions that excites operating executives to invest.

All this is changing. 

As providers continue to grapple with the ongoing challenges of clinical quality, friendly patient access, and financial sustainability, they are looking hard for answers.

An expanding economy, employment growth, wage growth, renewed interest in employee benefits (see announcement from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase on employee health benefits), and other changes mean that there are new opportunities to invest in innovative professionals and services. IT solution and deployment services should be trending up soon and will grow as the overall economy flourishes.

What IT solutions are needed

IT innovators are poised to bring an avalanche of small and large new products to market in areas like artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, digital health records, DNA sequencing/genomics, precision medicine, and micro inter-operability through SMART (an open, standards-based technology platform that enables professionals to create apps that run across the healthcare system) on FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). All these topics will have an impact on every aspect of healthcare delivery, clinical practice, quality and patient experience.

Here’s what’s next for healthcare IT jobs

  • IT professionals with advanced skills in data science, data management, AI/ML, natural language processing, app development, and other skills will be in demand to fuel innovation by entrepreneurs and vendors. 
  • Look for existing software products to be infused with Artificial Intelligence that enhances workflows and productivity with real time/just in time adjustments.
  • Data scientists and less expensive analytics engineers will use these technologies to realize long anticipated financial returns from Big Data.
  • Patient and physician experience and convenience will become more effective as electronic records evolve.

This new cycle of technology/process/experience refreshment is building momentum. IT professionals who are familiar with clinical terms and have project management skills will be in high demand.

Healthcare remains an industry challenged by many problems, but they are opportunities for Healthcare IT to solve. IT professionals must offer the skills to build and the savvy to deliver to clients. Employers will be looking for employees who not only have the desire to create and innovate, but also the knowledge and skills to build their creations.

Ready to rethink the future of IT?

Gary Seay is Principal of BrightWork Advisory,LLC., a practice focused on healthcare solution success. Mr. Seay served as SVP and CIO at Community Health Systems for 18 years. He held executive IT positions at CIGNA Health and Humana. He can be reached at josephgseay@BrightWorkAdvisory.com

J. Gary Seay