IDC Forecasts the Future of Health IT: Top 10 Predictions for 2012


In a year-long research study on the current — and future — state of health IT, research firm IDC believes 2012 is an inflection point in more ways than one.

In its report, "Top 10 Predictions for 2012," IDC focuses on the transformation of the health industry and how IT enables that transformation. Based on this construct, IDC identifies emerging trends for the New Year across five main areas of importance as healthcare and technology continue to merge: reform, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile and social.

Here are IDC’s Top 10 Predictions for 2012:

1. The Majority of U.S. Providers Will Use an EHR by the End of 2012. With this in mind, 2012 is shaping up to be an inflection point where adoption moves into the majority, led by all segments of the provider industry except small practices. Large practices will lead the way.

2. Successful Accountable Care Organizations Will Emerge from Private or Public-Private Initiatives. Integrated delivery systems are hesitant to participate in CMS reimbursement programs. Many believe CMS requirements are too burdensome and will erase any savings in medical expenses. A single reimbursement model will constrain the ability for ACOs to adapt to their environment and be successful. Data everywhere and anywhere will be required for ACOs to meet established goals

3. Health Plans Rebrand – Care is the New Core. In 2012, at least 70 percent of health plan business and technology resources (beyond ICD-10) will be allocated to consumer engagement and care/health management strategies.

4. Integration of Payment, Clinical Performance and Outcomes. Twenty percent of health plans will leverage investment strategies established in 2010 and 2011 to differentiate through integrated care, network and payment strategies.

5. Pharma adds "Actionable" to Analytics in 2012. Real-time alerts, workflow and approval will enable improved agility, competitiveness and compliance. Investments in data integration will finally deliver value. Commercial analytics solutions will streamline the path to information exploitation, with healthcare at the cusp of knowledge-driven operational efficiencies.

6. The Next Mountain for ACOs to Climb Will Be the Development of an Enterprise Analytic Framework Including Clinical Analytics. Availability of data for all stakeholders – anytime, anywhere – will be the key to success of ACO initiatives. Significant resources will be required to meet analytic requirements of the ACO. The ability to understand enterprise performance will provide the key to both financial and clinical improvements. Progress is being made in the industry to develop an integrated data model.

7. Outsourcing Best Practices Shift from Vendor to Partner. Increased outsourcing is driving closer relations between vendors and sponsors, recognizing that quality is an attribute that cannot be outsourced. Reduced pharma core competencies will drive higher value outsourcing. Information transparency will be a key process enabler. Win-win, lose-lose to become a core element of future contracts.

8. Bring Your Own Mobile Device Gains Popularity, But Security Risks Abound. Clinicians increasingly want to use their own mobile devices – and connect them to the healthcare organization’s network. Providers will purse BYOD (bring your own device) agnostic connectivity strategies. The top three security concerns for healthcare IT executives are: encrypting transmitted data (56 percent), data breaches (52 percent) and financial liabilities of HIPAA violations (48 percent). But encrypting is not enough; spyware is a major threat to mobile devices. Major investment areas in 2012 will be client/desktop virtualization and security.

9. Second-Generation Communication Strategies Emerge. Seventy percent of health plans report planned investments in consumer communications through year-end 2012. At least the top 10 health plans will establish “communications czars” to manage, prioritize and ensure integrity of all consumer communications across the health plan enterprise.

10. The Next Generation of Consumer Engagement Will Leverage Consumers’ Social Graphs. Consumers’ social graphs can yield significant influence and should be tapped as a resource to affect positive health behaviors. Consumer engagement solutions will be increasingly mobile and connected to social networking sites such as Facebook. The millennial generation will put aside privacy concerns in favor of building community connections.


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