IT Trends and Challenges in Healthcare

Healthcare-Steth-Listen

Health care industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and it has a direct effect on the quality of life of people in each country. The industry is under constant pressure to improve the quality of its delivery, streamline operations, and cut costs, while providing safe, affordable, and cost-effective care. Operating in a highly sensitive and regulated environment, industry players need to constantly adjust their strategies and processes to meet the ever-increasing demand and compliance requirements.

It’s interesting to note here the healthcare industry players who provide patient care are recognizing that the data making up the overall patient record is going to come from many different areas; it’s no longer just the electronic medical record that are going to be the lion’s share of patient data. These “feeds” are now going to be coming from multiple different sources—whether it’s remote monitoring technology or mobile-based technology; whether it’s information that’s coming within radiological scans, or medical imagery, etc., there are many areas now generating data inputs that make up the overall patient record.

Granted that digitizing this patient data supports a better overall ability to provide patient care. Now we can start pulling this data together.  Now we can collaborate much more effectively on providing patient care because that data, once digitized, is much easier to share.

Not surprisingly, this digitization intensified the grueling challenges that IT department faces. Balancing access to these data and ensuring that the information are safeguarded from malicious hackers has become even more laborious.

It is not  difficult to notice that cloud, mobility, security and BYOD are some of the IT Trends are getting prevalent in just about all industry sectors, but particularly within healthcare.

Cloud –  is very pertinent because healthcare legislation requires that we keep patient data for a maximum of patient life plus 10 years. If we stop and think about the magnitude of the data here—every patient’s electronic medical record for a maximum of the patient’s life, plus 10 years—you can see that really we want to keep that data probably in the cloud.( Private or Hybrid cloud perhaps in short term)

Mobility – we have a desire normally, just from an overall standpoint, to be mobile with regards to our data. In healthcare it’s a key facet of the role; it’s mandatory that healthcare workers are mobile. This in fact was testament to the survey done by Aruba networks that 85% of hospital are embracing Mobility.

BYOD – these devices are becoming very powerful, in their own right, as medical devices. Of course, people are not only going to use the hospital issued devices but they’re also going to be using their own devices. And how IT is going to work collaboratively with business to remain the relevant remains the an important conversation between IT and business.

And certainly from an IT perspective, finding a way to embrace these inevitable trends , leveraging on   technologies to effectively manage the risks, to ensure patient data is not compromised is going to be a big challenge facing  the healthcare IT departments today.

I will share how can we as an IT practitioner can advise our clients on how to address these challenges holistically in my next blogs.