HMT1010_Phil_Colpas Despite the myriad and often complex ways of attempting to achieve it, the goal of healthcare IT has always been singular and simple: improve care while decreasing cost.

In a perfect world, we could go slowly with technology implementation. But with electronic health record (EHR) adoption still hovering at around 10 percent and the government's incentive deadlines looming, time is a luxury we do not have.

So, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we here at Health Management Technology decided to reach out to select industry players and determine their forecasts on the year ahead in healthcare IT.

Here's a sampling of how our experts see it playing out:

Ravi Sharma, president and CEO, 4medica: “… widespread adoption of [EHRs] is still some years away, while ACOs are right around the corner. What is needed right now is an easy-to-deploy method of combining patient data across care settings.”

Kerry Winkle, chief marketing officer, Eldorado, an MphasiS Company: “Beyond EHRs, ACOs must be able to connect and correlate membership demographics, analytic tools, medical and pharmacy claims, lab data and more.”

Lee Shapiro, president, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions: “Open [EHR] systems [will] initiate the future of connected communities, leading to better, more cost-effective patient care.”

Tom Giannulli, M.D., chief medical information officer, Epocrates: “Between the HITECH Act incentives and the availability of more physician-centric solutions, 2011 will be the year of widespread EHR adoption.”

John Haughton, M.D., chief medical information officer, Covisint: “… the cloud-based EHR isn't the future. It's now.”

Mike Wall, CEO, DICOM Grid: “… 2011 will mark the start of a new era in medical image management by leveraging the availability of secure, cloud-based technology that's as easy to use as iTunes, Google or Facebook.”

Sara McNeil, president, Boston Software: “Hospitals can use automation to manage how the staff interacts with a registration screen, notify stakeholders of critical activities and fill in the gaps between systems and applications that might slow down the revenue cycle.”

Shane Hade, CEO, EDIMS: “Before the meaningful-use final rule made emergency departments (EDs) eligible for incentives, hospitals were concentrating on automating the inpatient environment. Now, they will expand their focus to automating and integrating the ED with the inpatient side, giving them the global data they need to address one of the highest medical cost areas.”

Brandon Savage, M.D., chief medical officer, GE Healthcare IT: “Meaningful meaningful use will pull away from ordinary meaningful use and benefit the smart healthcare systems employing it.”


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