Top Health Industry Issues of 2011 – “Top 10” Health IT List Series

Posted on December 28, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Next up in our evaluation of the various end of 2011 Health IT lists series is one that takes a bit of a look back at 2011. In this list, PwC lists what they consider the Top Health Industry Issues of 2011. The list starts with an interesting comment about the health IT spending in 2011:

More than $88.6 billion was spent by providers in 2010 on developing and implementing electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchanges (HIEs) and other initiatives. This surge is a sign of technology’s critical place in health system improvement.

$88.6 billion is a lot of health IT spending and larger than most numbers I’ve seen. Although, most numbers I’ve seen are only the EMR and EHR market and doesn’t include HIE spending and other healthcare IT initiatives. It’s quite clear that the health IT spending is up, and up Big!

Their list of top Health issues isn’t that surprising, except possibly one of them:

Meaningful Use – This has to be topic number one for health IT in 2011. It’s had a trans formative effect on healthcare IT and EMR and EHR as we know them. Pretty much every EHR vendor I’ve talked to basically had to take an entire software development life cycle to meet the meaningful use and certified EHR requirements. This is the dramatic effect of meaningful use on EHR development.

PwC actually focuses on how meaningful use will encourage patient participation in their healthcare or “shared medical decision-making.” To be honest, I’m not sure meaningful use has done much to help this goal, yet(?). Possibly meaningful use stage 2 and meaningful use stage 3 will help to further these goals. MU stage 1 has done little to encourage this. Regardless of the impact of meaningful use, shared medical decision-making is going forward fast and furious.

HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10 – The interesting issue for 5010 and ICD-10 is that they’ve basically been overwhelmed by meaningful use and EHR incentive money. Either of these changes alone would have been a reasonable challenge for a normal year. However, clinical organizations are battling through 5010, ICD-10 and meaningful use all at the same time. Are there any other IT projects going on that don’t involved these three things? I’d say probably very few.

Electronic medical device reporting (eMDR) – I found this point quite interesting. There’s been a lot of movement in 2011 in regards to what constitutes a medical device and who should take care of tracking and collecting the adverse events that occur on these devices. I don’t think we’ve come to a final conclusion on what will be considered a medical device and how we’re going to deal with reporting adverse events, but finally getting electronic reporting of adverse events is a good step in the right direction.

Be sure to read the rest of my Health IT Top 10 as they’re posted.