My eWeek interview about top 5 health IT trends in 2011

Brian Horowitz, who does some great writing over at eWeek and numerous other publications, interviewed me about what I thought the most important health IT trends will be in 2011. He published the results in his article entitled “Virtualization, EHR-Linked Devices, m-Health to Lead Health Care IT in 2011“. Brian captured what we discussed and made it even better by giving some concrete examples. Here’s some elaboration on each of the less often discussed trends we discussed:

  • Health care IT departments will increasingly adopt virtualization and begin their move into the cloud. Usually environments with lots of legacy systems embrace virtualization because it allows them to maintain their software while significantly upgrading hardware; in the past we’ve not seen this happen in healthcare but I think the tide has started turning in 2010 and will grow in 2011. Once virtualization is in full swing then we’ll see some simple cloud adoption take place, too.
  • Stand-alone medical devices will become more integrated in IT strategy and priorities. Meaningful Use Phase II in 2012 will cause this trend to go into overdrive; a number of my high-profile clients today are already engaging specialists like me to help with EMR connectivity for their medical devices and I’m happy to see this trend continuing even bigger.
  • Identity and access management (IAM) will be essential tools in fighting data breaches. Cloud identity management firms (such as Identropy, a firm that I advise) are important first movers here — IAM and user provision and deprovisioning is so poorly handled in many hospitals and health systems that it’s a wonder there aren’t more breaches.
  • Health information exchange (HIE) standards will become clearer. There is so much to learn about NHIN and The Direct Project at this time and ONC and state government officials have done little to clarify what’s necessary. In 2011 I expect we’ll see lots of clarity and I’m really excited about Direct might be able to. For some details on HIEs, NHIN, and Direct don’t forget to check out my article “An Overview of NHIN and NHIN Direct for Software Developers” on IBM’s excellent developerWorks site.
  • Mobile health players will seek a business model. I spoke on a panel at the mHealth Summit a couple of months back (an event where Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and other luminaries spoke at as well). It was clear there were lots of great technical ideas but I couldn’t find a whole lot of winning business models or success stories. I think 2011 will start to demonstrate whether or not any money can be made in mHealth and whether there are long-term sustainable business models there.

Another trend Brian and I could have easily talked about would be the increasing use of iPad, iPhone, Android, and other mobile devices in healthcare — but, we wanted to cover some of the lesser discussed ones that Brian covered above. Lots of folks are talking about the obvious stuff but I’m glad to see eWeek going out and covering some un-obvious trends. Thanks Brian.

What do you think we missed as far as 2011 health IT trends are concerned?

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