Making it Rain – Cloud-based Healthcare to Reach $10 Billion

Cloud-based EMR software expected to reach ten billion dollars

Experts in the healthcare industry estimate that cloud computing throughout healthcare will reach nearly $10 billion. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the industry will be seeing an increase from $3.73 billion this year to a jaw-dropping $9.48 billion by the year 2020.

Understanding what this means for healthcare professionals

As a healthcare professional, you may be noticing the changing environments and the increased discussion around information technology in the healthcare industry. As EMR software companies struggle to keep up with MU requirements, maintain compliance with strict HIPPA regulations, and offer solutions at affordable costs (some, not all), professionals using various electronic healthcare recording software available have an increased sense of feeling overwhelmed.

Keeping it simple through all the complexity

Frequently noted across blogs, articles, and journals, the increasing number of EHR software companies are competing neck-to-neck in order to grow their customer base and stay ahead of the competition. Although very few companies truly offer all-in-one solutions for practices, clinics, and hospitals, there is one company that does.

With well over 20 different platforms developed for specialties throughout the entire medical field, companies like Meditab, FertilityEHR, CosmetiSuite, and AllergyEHR are all-encompassing.

These companies offer features not limited to scheduling, billing, claims submissions, secure messaging, patient portals, tools for practice analysis, referral management, electronic prescription ordering, lab test ordering and viewing, secure document transmission and viewing, and much more.

How to find an EMR that’s a perfect fit for you

Most companies offer demos so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity before making a long-term commitment. Through proper research and testing, any of these companies above may prove to be exactly what your practice needs.

Proposed Center to Focus on Health IT Safety Issues

Building on several reports in recent years that focused on the intersection of health IT and patient safety, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released a roadmap for developing a national Health IT Safety Center.

The proposed center would focus on two main objectives: “using health IT to make care safer, and continuously improving the safety of health IT.”

Safety center would aim for ‘achieving safer care through collaboration’

Working with ONC, RTI International brought together a task force of health IT developers, clinicians and other insiders to help develop the roadmap. The projected cost of the center – which could begin with federal funding to a host organization – might range from $17.8 to $20.6 million over five years.

The planners did not propose a regulatory function for the center. Instead, its activities would include:

  • Bringing together health IT stakeholders from the private and public sectors to exchange ideas.
  • Identifying, testing and supporting the implementation of solutions for health IT concerns.
  • Supporting health care providers regarding optimal IT usage.

Developers and vendors of health care IT products would play an important role in the center’s activities, as “Often they will be their customers’ best sources of information on the safety and safe use of health IT,” the authors wrote.

Many factors contribute to health IT safety

One of the publications the ONC cited in its roadmap was the Institute of Medicine’s “Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care” report from 2011. In it, the authors write that “In looking for ways to make health IT– assisted care safer, it is important to recognize that the products are not used in isolation. Rather, they are part of a larger sociotechnical system that also includes people — such as clinicians or patients — organizations, processes, and the external environment.” Safety requires optimum interactions between all these moving parts, and safety analyses “should not look for a single ‘root cause’ of problems,” the authors wrote.

At the Health Affairs Blog, Dean Sittig and Hardeep Singh asked: “Why hasn’t all of this [the activities of the proposed Safety Center] been done by now? The answer lies in the complexity of health IT use. In addition, research to understand unintended consequences of Health IT has emerged mostly in the last decade. As recognized in the roadmap, a comprehensive, sociotechnical approach is essential; this must include technical factors, as well as nontechnical factors such as people, workflow, and organizational issues.”

The authors discussed a Quality & Safety in Health Care paper they coauthored that provided a model with eight interrelated dimensions “designed to address the socio-technical challenges involved in design, development, implementation, use, and evaluation of HIT within complex adaptive healthcare systems.” These dimensions include:

  • Hardware and software
  • Clinical data stored on the system
  • The developers, clinicians, patients  and other humans who create and use the technology
  • The workflow in which the technology is used
  • The policies and procedures of the organization using the technology

“The proposed Safety Center is a step forward, but it will require strong and sustained support from a multitude of stakeholders, including vendors, researchers, and policymakers. A great deal is at stake here,” Sittig and Singh concluded. “In the absence of any other central oversight, the Safety Center will need to lead the way in making health IT safer and better, so we can improve the health and health care of our patients.”