If someone were to ask you to come up with a list of all the things you are thankful for this year with no qualifications I’m guessing for most of you, that wouldn’t be a difficult task. However, if pressed to come up with a list of all the things related to Health IT that you are thankful for, that might be a more difficult list to make. So, I thought I would help out by creating a starting point for you. In doing so, discovered that it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Hopefully, you can use this list as a launch point from which to create your own list. We have much to be thankful for as we really do work in a great industry at one of the most potentially revolutionary moments in history!
- Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources or FHIR – I know there has been a lot of talk and not a ton to show for it, but I believe we are quickly getting to a point where data sharing among and between vendors is going to elevate to an entirely new playing field. Exciting days are ahead!
- Meaningful Use Rule Simplification – Do you remember when we had to go from zero to 60% CPOE usage in a single year? Boy, am I ever glad that’s over. I realize the rule hasn’t gone away, but from where I sit the current MU “upticks” are at least beginning to feel like they are approaching the realm of good reason.
- Improved Encryption/Enhanced Security Tools – It seems like since the Anthem breach we have heard nothing but doom and gloom as it relates to security and the risks to our data. However, quietly the security technologies have matured in ways that ultimately can make our risks less and our jobs easier. I am so thankful for those who are on the front lines of addressing this very real threat to our patients and our livelihoods (not to mention our personal identities).
- More Pervasive Presence of Telehealth – To some, this might not seem like something to be thankful for, but as someone that works in health IT and is a consumer of healthcare, I see this as one of the cures for what ails the industry. I am excited about how this is starting to open up avenues to care, whether it be access to a doctor through a secure messaging app or a doctor’s ability to quickly consult with an expert when necessary – it is all good for the patient!
- Virtualization and associated device management technologies – It has been reported that between 2011 and 2014, we saw a 68% increase in IT usage among clinical staff in healthcare. It has also been reported that clinicians use more devices per user than any other type of user. So, without the advent of virtualization and these consolidated device/desktop management tools, there is absolutely no way we technologists could have even come close to keeping up with the rising tide (or tidal wave). I am so glad that these technologies exist and that they are constantly improving our ability to manage devices efficiently and effectively.
I actually could go on, but I think it is best that I allow you to add your own or create your own list. I hope this gets your juices flowing as you start to think of all the things we have to be thankful for in the business of healthcare IT. We have significant challenges, no doubt, but we can focus on the obstacles or we can focus on the opportunities. Quite often, the only difference between the two is our vantage point. Happy Thanksgiving!