Though many providers have yet to adopt an electronic health record system, EHR implementation rates are rising steadily; and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ EHR Incentive Program continues to attract participants. With Meaningful Use stage 2 kicking off in 2014 – and providers facing penalties for not having meaningfully used certified EHR software by 2015 – these trends are not likely to taper off any time soon. In fact, 2013 is positioned to be a big year for EHRs and health IT.
Here are three of the topics that are sure to be all the buzz in 2013:
1. Data security. Data breaches made headlines often in 2012, leading countless healthcare organizations to promise to focus on tighter security protocols and provide training for employees on security best practices. With more and more information being stored digitally in electronic health record systems, it is only natural that data security be of the utmost importance. Otherwise, data breaches will only become more common, compromising patient privacy and the integrity of stored medical data.
2. Replacement EHRs. Many early EHR adopters knew little about the software and how it might affect their organization’s day to day; but now, providers are much more informed. This is leading healthcare organizations to rethink their current software system and look for other EHR solutions that better meet their needs. EHR vendors that want to survive will need to step up their game to avoid getting replaced or becoming obsolete. This means focusing on ROI, usability and design, and truly understanding their target user’s needs.
3. Patient portal integration. Providers who want to start attesting to Meaningful Use stage 2 in 2014 will need to start getting ready this year. This means implementing an online portal and actually getting patients to use it, particularly to access their clinical summaries and to send their doctors secure electronic messages. Providers integrating a portal with their EHR software will also likely be looking for other ways to make the most of their patient portal technology, meaning that remote patient monitoring, televists and e-consults might also see a spike this year.
What other EHR or health IT-related topics do you think will trend in 2013?