While I admit that I’m much more suited to comment on other people’s prognostications and predictions for EMR and health care IT in 2011, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try and make some predictions for the EMR world in 2011.
Few EMR Vendor Acquisitions – I predict that acquisitions of EMR vendors will actually slow down in 2011. Certainly there needs to be some EMR company consolidation with 300+ EMR companies out there right now (and it seems more coming every day). However, I think 2011 will be a wait and see period where companies want to see how the various EMR companies perform for their clients interested in getting the EMR incentive money. The only thing that might ruin this prediction is that if many of the 300+ EMR companies have issues selling product and then have to basically sell off their assets in a fire sale. We might see some of those, but I believe even those will wait until 2012.
EHR Incentive Numbers Down – We’ve all heard the $36 billion in EHR incentive money. Of course, this is just the projection of how much EHR incentive money they’ll have to give out. I expect that when we get the total amount of EHR incentive money paid out in 2011 that it will be much lower than the projected targeted. Especially if many of them sit out 2011 and wait for 2012.
Health Information Exchange Success Stories – There are so many people working on the health information exchange issue that in 2011 we’re finally going to start seeing some breakthrough stories about the exchange of health information. Although, it won’t likely come from where we expect it. Watch for some unique approaches by companies and communities to finally make the exchange of health information a reality. It won’t be across the US in 2011, but we’ll see the signs of what could be in 2011.
Reimbursement for Online Visits – I’m far from an expert on reimbursement and trends in health insurance so this might be a stretch, but I think we’re going to see the first insurance reimbursement for some sort of online visit. The first draft will be a bit cumbersome and restricted, but it will be the start of the online doctor visit in earnest.
Portable Doctor’s Offices – A few years back I started hearing about some doctors who were going back to the old days. Not the old days of medical care, but the old days of the doctor visiting the patients in their homes. When I think about this, I always think of Little House on the Prairie and them calling for someone to go and get Doc Baker. In 2011, I bet we see a lot more doctors eschewing the traditional doctor’s office and visiting patients in their homes. With a hosted EMR and the portable laptops and iPad like technologies that we have today, it makes running an office out of your car pretty reasonable. Certainly it won’t work for all specialties, but it is a service that I think many patients would pay to have from their doctor.
PHR Adoption Will Continue to Lag – I just see no signs that PHR adoption is going to take off this year.
First EMR Lawsuit – I predict 2011 will bring the first HIPAA lawsuit where EMR is at the center of the lawsuit. It will be an important one to watch since it will likely set precedent for future EMR related lawsuits.
There you go. A few little 2011 predictions. I’d love to hear any predictions you’d like to make and which predictions I’ve made that you think are wrong and why.