4 Technology Trends for Healthcare in 2016

For 2015, Healthcare technology trends focused heavily on EMR and cloud migrations. Focused mainly on the practice itself, the huge focus on the cloud in 2015 was all about bringing mobility to employees, making access simple and increasing efficiency. But with such a huge focus on customer experience in 2016, healthcare facilities and medical practices will be pushing the majority of their budget into this area to better distinguish themselves from their competition. Here are a few technology trends for healthcare in 2016 that are going to help improve patient experience for many practices.

An increased focus on security.

The privacy of your patients is an important item on your list, but no matter how well you think you’re protecting them, the fact is that professional hackers are getting even smarter. We recently published a healthcare IT security statistics blog that might bring you up to speed on the true state of healthcare IT security:

  • 19% of healthcare practices reported a security breach within the last year
  • 12% of healthcare practices reported at least one known case of medical identify theft
  • 17,000 patient records are breached per day on average
  • 74% of practices aren’t encrypting data on mobile devices
  • 91% of healthcare practices are using cloud-based services, yet only 47% are confident in their ability to keep data secure in the cloud

These are huge points that really bring up valid concerns about the state of healthcare IT security. Being mobile and moving to electronic records isn’t a good way to advance your technology and innovate your organization if your lack of HIPAA compliance and security standards will compromise your patient data and shut down your organization.

Truly mobile healthcare.

While we’re not talking about servicing patients at their home, we do think that a doctor should be able to carry around all of his patient’s data to recall without being locked to a desk. 2016 will be the year we take our cloud and mobility to the next level by truly integrating with smart devices and applications that allow for comprehensive medical care. Apple started the ball rolling with the iPad Pro, which we’ve seen some practices begin to integrate. The focus is moving away from the elimination of paper and into the streamlining of the patient experience and how instant and mobile access to patient records can revolutionize a practice.

Apps for every specialty.

From chiropractic to orthopedics, more and more applications are moving to mobile. While customized software is going to be a big shift in 2016, what we really want to see (though it may take some time) is the creation and adoption of the mobile apps that allow doctors to eliminate some of the aging tools like heart rate monitors, xrays and other technology. While this one may be a little ahead of its time, it’s absolutely reasonable to say that adoption of specialized mobile apps should increase in 2016, with an eventual focus on a comprehensive practice held within a tablet or smartphone.

A renewed focus on patient retention.

Marketing is expensive, which is why every step you can take to keep your existing patients around is a worthwhile investment of time and funds. In 2016 we’re going to start seeing more of our medical clients begin to use surveys, text-to-confirm, patient portals and integrated applications that support appointment settings and patient record access. What we’re talking about is more than being able to login into a portal and see their records. We’re talking about a comprehensive strategy that uses technology to move the patient through every aspect of your practice, with a positive technology experience and systems that allow your staff to step in where necessary and provide additional help seamlessly. While it may seem like a pipedream, strategic technology can truly accomplish this with the appropriate investment.

2016 is less about the innovation of your organization’s technology and more about how you can change the way you’re innovating it to improve the patient experience. Consider every change you make in your organization, focus less on budget and more on return. The more you can improve the experience that your patients have with your practice and its technology, the more you’ll grow and meet your goals for 2016.