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Health System Leaders Identify Cybersecurity, Predictive Analytics, and Virtual Care Payments as Top 2018 IT Issues

December 27, 2017

Survey results about emerging health information technology (IT) trends reveal that health system leaders across the country are inclined to boost funding for cybersecurity technology during 2018. Those same leaders are carefully weighing the value of investing in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and consumer devices such as wearables.

The survey was conducted by the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) and the Health Management Academy (the Academy). Pittsburg-based CCM and The Academy distributed the survey to 35 of the largest U.S. health systems, and conducted interviews with system leaders as well. Results, reflecting responses from 20 of those systems (69%), are included in the “Top of Mind for Top U.S. Health Systems 2018” report.

Health care leaders’ priorities related to emerging health IT trends focused on cybersecurity, consumer-facing technology, predictive analytics, virtual care, and AI.

Highlights include:

Cybersecurity:  Nine of ten (92%) respondents plan to increase spending on technology to improve cybersecurity in 2018. Two-thirds of respondents said they are increasing cybersecurity staff beyond corporate offices.

Predictive Analytics:  More than half of respondents use or plan to use genomic testing–examination of unique abnormalities or mutations that occur in cancer–to provide personalized medicine to patients. The respondents will focus on oncology, anesthesia and pharmacogenetics, which is the study of drug response in relation to specific genes.

Virtual Care:  Less than half of respondents receive reimbursement for virtual care (39 percent), or remote monitoring (45 percent). Among those not receiving reimbursement, 71 percent expect to be reimbursed for virtual care in 2018.

Consumer-Facing Technology:  Less than a quarter of respondents expect wearables (17%) or mobile health apps (21%) to be sources of valuable patient-generated data in 2018. They do expect patient-generated data to make up a larger portion of a patient’s health record in the future.

Artificial Intelligence:  Implementation of AI solutions are a low or very low priority for nearly two-thirds of respondents. Health system leaders expect the technology to have greater impact in the future when more is known about their value to the health care field.

The Center for Connected Medicine is an executive briefing center jointly operated by GE Healthcare, IBM, Lenovo Health, Nokia and UPMC. The Academy, based in Alexandria, Virginia, provides educational programming, research, and analysis for its membership of executives in health care.

HAP has partnered with hospitals and health systems, federal agencies, and members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation to address the cybersecurity issue, and expects to continue this focus during 2018. In addition, the association is advocating for the adoption of telemedicine legislation, Senate Bill 780 and House Bill 1648. The bills define the key components of telemedicine, set licensing requirements, and require health insurers to provide reimbursement for telemedicine services if they pay for the same service in person.

For additional information about cybersecurity, contact Laura Stevens Kent, HAP’s vice president, federal legislative advocacy. Questions about telemedicine legislation should be directed to Stephanie Watkins, HAP’s vice president, state legislative advocacy.

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