Three 2018 digital health predictions from a physician and CMO

The past year featured significant progress for the health technology industry. As we continue in the direction of value-based care and quality measurement, the trends that grabbed the spotlight last year should continue to generate momentum in 2018.

Here are three digital health predictions for 2018 I believe will continue to take form over the next year:  

1. There will be an increase of new tools that specifically target helping to save physicians time

The subject of physician burnout has increasingly been receiving a lot of attention. In fact, recent studies have shown that the overall rate of physician burnout in 2017 was 51%, significantly higher than the rate in 2013 of 40%. A large contributor to this is the perception of a lack of user-friendly health IT tools.

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In 2018, health IT vendors will increasingly focus on user experience (UX) - or how easy and intuitive a system is to use - when building software to combat growing rates of physician burnout and help them return to treating patients. Vendors will utilize user-centered design methodologies, including eye tracking technology, on-site practice visits and design labs to study workflow patterns. This can help a vendor’s UX team uncover how and what the end-user truly needs to streamline and improve the platform and help bring efficiency to their practice.

2. Patient engagement tools will become critical, not optional

Value-based care has brought a renewed focus on the patient, who is increasingly becoming a savvy and educated healthcare consumer. As such, technologies that help encourage patients to be more involved in their treatment will be crucial in the coming year. Tools such as patient kiosks and patient portals will become more central in helping to manage practice efficiency and improve patient health outcomes, as physicians face increased demands to foster and demonstrate meaningful engagement.

3. Physicians will continue to lean heavily on their EHR systems for MIPS and value-based care requirements

Although physicians worked to get up-to-speed regarding MIPS/MACRA adoption throughout 2017, many are still wary of what’s ahead - especially with the final changes in 2018 and value breakdown to include Cost at 10 percent. Physicians will expect to lean more heavily on their EHR platforms and technology providers to assist them with meeting and reporting CMS requirements and help them achieve financial success. Modern solutions, such as Qualified Registries, a MIPS platform built directly in the EHR system, peer-to-peer comparison tracking and advising services will enable physicians to more successfully meet requirements and deadlines in 2018 and beyond.

What health technologies and trends do you predict will gain momentum in 2018?

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Dr. Michael Sherling

About the author…

Dr. Michael Sherling is the chief medical and strategy officer and co-founder of Modernizing Medicine, a specialty-specific health IT company. Dr. Sherling has also been a practicing dermatologist since 2006 and currently practices in a comprehensive skin care dermatology group in Palm Beach County, Florida.

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Dr. Michael Sherling