Digital health trends we hope to see in 2019

January 17, 2019

The continued shift from reactive to proactive healthcare
Gary Birks, GM UK & Ireland

Historically, healthcare has been delivered in a reactive model in which clinical activity, encounters and treatments are symptom-based, relying on a patient to respond and actively engage with the system. 

In 2019, new technology developments will continue to drive changes in healthcare delivery. Specifically, technology will transform the way care is delivered for ageing populations in which many people suffer from chronic disease. Orion Health foresees that health and social care organizations will accelerate information sharing to support increasingly complex multi-agency care pathways, this sharing being achieved through the development of Integrated Digital Care Record systems (IDCRs).

The increased demand for data through IDCRs will drive organizations through a journey of data maturity in healthcare from data acquisition, aggregation and data access to increased data analysis and data adaption. This year we expect continued generation and availability of different data sources and data types extending beyond data captured during healthcare episodes to include all the determinants of health. Data points may include behavioral choices, social circumstances and genetic data.

Beyond aggregation, we expect healthcare organizations to make meaning of data via reporting, dashboards and business intelligence. Such activities support enhanced data analysis and predictive analytical technology such as risk stratification, population health management and patient workflow management.  

Healthcare technology will support a shift from reactive healthcare to proactive healthcare, where systems stratify at-risk individuals on known risk factors and ensure that preventative action is taken to intervene before the onset of symptoms and further to predictive healthcare where systems are able to predict risk and intervene further upstream.

Healthcare organizations getting serious about big data
Dr Dave Dembo, GM Australia

Healthcare organizations globally are grappling with disparate and siloed information but are quickly seeing the value of extracting insights from the data they are able to aggregate. The past few years have seen healthcare organizations invest extensively in BI and analytics services. These investments are paying dividends in transforming clinical models of care and optimizing service delivery across hospital systems. What these organizations are now realizing is that the value of these BI and analytics services are either limited or enhanced by the quality of their data, and this is driving investments in interoperability and data platforms.

The challenge in healthcare remains overcoming the fragmentation of, and disparities between these data sets so a comprehensive, longitudinal view of patient data can be built to drive more accurate context for clinical and business decision making.

Growth of the digital health workforce
Michael Hosking, Clinical Product Specialist

2019 will likely see a strong focus on fostering the digital health workforce, fundamentally to keep up with the advancements in technology. Healthcare has traditionally been a laggard in technology adoption, but we are seeing more and more successful implementations of IT solutions that are changing the way clinicians work – for the better.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health in the UK, said that one of his key priorities for 2019 is empowering the healthcare workforce with the right technology that saves time and allows them to provide better care.

I believe the development of people is just as important as the development of technology, and after my research into the New Zealand and Australian digital health workforce, it seems we have some work to do. It would be great to see collaboration between departments and organizations to determine the best ways to support and nurture their people working in health informatics.

We all know how fast technology is advancing and changing the way healthcare operates, which is why it’s so important to foster a ‘digitally ready’ workforce to use people’s skills in order to take advantage of the opportunity technology presents us with.

This year I hope to see an increase in training and materials that are available for health informatics to develop their skills further. Certifications such as CHIA are paving the way for people to enhance their knowledge and skills across health informatics, this supports people to develop their skills and knowledge to help solve fundamental problems in healthcare system design and healthcare delivery.

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