Trends to Look Out For
- COVID-19 Tracking Patients to Managing Vaccinations: EHR vendors responded to their customers immediately at the outset of COVID-19 and pushed out new tools to help manage their patient populations. Now that vaccines are in the final stages of approval and initial stages of distribution, EHRs will be heavily utilized to track, trace and monitor vaccination progress. Health systems will need to track vaccine distribution in a complex environment of changing protocols, patient prioritization and local challenges and will need to leverage many key functions of their EHRs.
- Patient Engagement: COVID-19 has accelerated many changes in the way patients interact with their providers and has put more tools in the hands of patients. From integrated telehealth visit functionality to tracking patient health data through their wearable devices, patients have significantly expanded options for sharing relevant health information. This trend is likely to continue as third-party applications boost interoperability with larger EHR platforms. This Harvard Business Review points out some interesting developments of telehealth visits and some forward-looking strategies.
- Increased Cybersecurity Threats: 2020 has seen an increase in cyber attacks on health systems across the country. Multiple organizations were forced into downtimes to deal with ransomware and other similar attacks. Ransomware attacks more than doubled in Q3 of 2020, with the healthcare sector being one of the most targeted. Programs such as Ryuk and Trickbot have been used to bring health systems’ networks down and disrupt patient care. IT divisions are focused more than ever on the need for cybersecurity and ensuring business continuity plans are in place.
Innovations to Know
- Move to Virtual Go-Lives: While many implementations and projects were put on hold in 2020, some health systems were able to move forward on their go-lives. Those go-lives, however, had a very different feel. Health systems quickly adopted virtual training models and remote go-live support in order to implement necessary EHR software. Many training curriculums were converted to e-learning modules and found creative solutions to support users going live on new systems. It will be interesting to see how organizations balance virtual and in-person training and support moving forward.
In using a virtual go-live, Pivot Point Consulting was able to eliminate travel for training and go-live support, saving La Clinica approximately $200,000. Read about the success here.
- AI-Driven Care: Multiple EHR vendors are leveraging AI to enhance patient care. Many organizations are utilizing those solutions for population health management and clinical decision support. Enhanced capabilities for using AI to drive functionality like voice assistance, coding and documentation and predictive analytics.
- mHealth and COVID-19: A 60-person taskforce recently published a study to determine the impact of mobile technologies and their use in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The study found that mHealth technologies are viable options to monitor patients and predict symptom escalation. Over the summer, FitBit released research stating wearable devices could detect 50 percent of COVID-19 cases one day before participants reported the onset of symptoms. As the country moves towards vaccination efforts, mHealth platforms will most certainly play an integral role.
Upcoming Industry Events
- Becker’s Healthcare is hosting a Telehealth Virtual Forum. The forum will focus on continued use and expansion of virtual care and how it impacts patients from Baby Boomers to Generation Z. The event will take place March 21, 2021.
- CHIME is hosting an online focus group on December 15: A Cybersecurity Retrospective 2020 and the Impacts on 2021. The session will focus on the challenges faced in 2020 and their residual effects in 2021.
Andy Palmer, Pivot Point Consulting Director, EHR & Managed Services, has over 14 years of leading EHR implementations, strategic initiatives and community extension projects. He has extensive experience planning, managing and delivering projects across a broad spectrum of healthcare organizations, including academic medical centers, pediatric hospitals and large multi-state organizations. With a specialty in Revenue Cycle IT design, clinical integration and operational workflows, Andy excels at leveraging an EHR’s capabilities and using data to drive strategic decision-making. As the Director of Pivot Point Consulting’s EHR Practice, he ensures the highest quality consultants are partnered with every organization.