2015’s Healthcare IT Trends: Are You in the Know?

Healthcare ITHealthcare technology has exploded recently with no sign of slowing. In fact, some of the biggest changes in healthcare information technology careers are expected to happen this year.

Are you a health information or medical records tech, or interested in this field? Check out these 5 major health IT trends of 2015 to stay up-do-date in the industry.

1. ICD-10 arrival

After numerous delays, the ICD-10 coding system officially rolled out on October 1, 2015. This new coding system is much larger and more specific than ICD-9, requiring a huge investment of resources to switch over. Despite the challenges, ICD-10 brings our coding system up to par with the rest of the world and will result in better quality patient care. The new code set has required a number of changes to healthcare systems and processes, so even if you’re not a medical coder you can prove your value to your employer or future boss by being familiar with this new system.

2. Interoperability of EHR

Interoperability of electronic health records (EHR) allows healthcare providers to quickly and easily share and access patients’ health data. This system is designed to be a win-win-win for patients, providers, and insurance companies because it improves patient care and efficiency. However, many medical practices’ EHR systems may not be “interoperable,” which means they are able to easily exchange info with other systems.

Starting this year, “interoperability” will become a core requirement of EHR systems. Medical practices need to look ahead and work with vendors to make sure their health record systems meet this standard. Who knows? This may be part of your job in the near future.

3. Big push for big data

In this technical age, the amount of data is overwhelming, but most companies are at a loss as to how to make it most useful. However, big data has the potential to improve healthcare, and companies know it. Payers, providers, and pharmaceutical companies have started investing heavily in improving their analytical capabilities and building solutions to make use of big data. Are your analytical capabilities up to snuff?

4. Rise of the “hands-on” patient

This year we’ve seen countless apps that help patients take charge of their healthcare and wellness. In fact, patient-driven healthcare is becoming a trend; in fact, 30% of smartphone users (500 million people!) are expected to use mobile healthcare applications by the end of 2015. However, be wary. Some apps have gotten into trouble for delving too deep into health advice without having the supporting credentials, and pretty soon the FDA will step in when apps could pose a risk for patients. Would an app benefit your company?

5. Digitally-enabled care

As part of the plan to lower rising healthcare costs, practitioners are expected to use digital tools to help patients manage their own conditions. This year we will see more sophisticated medical devices that transmit data to the healthcare provider, allowing remote analysis and lowering costs. Additionally, be prepared for a rise in telehealth and telemedicine options, remote patient monitoring, and electronic health history tools.

What do these trends mean for health information technology careers? These changes could lead to some great opportunities in the workplace—and potentially more challenges. If you have already begun your health tech career, you may need some new training. As a health tech student or professional, what new trends do you foresee in the industry? Share in the comments below.

Interested in a healthcare information technology career or in updating your training? Be sure to keep up on tech trends in the industry and invest in a quality training program, such as Career Step’s online healthcare IT certification program. Click here for more information!

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