Friday, January 6, 2012

What Will Healthcare Look Like at the End of 2012?

There is a lot in the health care industry riding on June’s Supreme Court ruling, but the Affordable Care Act isn’t the only thing affecting the future of health care. Looking at continuing trends from 2011, and input from some of the internet’s best medical IT writers, here are five big topics that will dictate the fate of health care throughout this year.

There will be an increase in social media, and social media compliance risks.

Unfortunately for the medical industry, new technologies and compliance breaches go hand-in-hand. 2011 saw a rapid growth in medical professionals using social media for promotion, education, and awareness, and their successwill lead others to follow in their example. As that experimentation continues, mistakes are inevitable.

Technology is growing faster than compliance.

As we’ve reported in the past, Health and Human Services is moving too slowly to keep up with the technology that medical facilities are using. Nothing seems to show that this trend will change over the next twelve months. Over 2012, health facilities should be extremely careful, and should make every effort to triple-check that their efforts are remaining compliant. Any outsourced data or work should be handled by compliance experts.

Artificial Intelligence will improve health diagnoses.

“Siri and IBM’s Watson are starting to be applied to medical questions,” says Daniel Kraft M.D. of Singularity University. “They’ll assist with diagnostics and decision support for both patients and clinicians. Through the cloud, any device will be able to access powerful medical AI.” Cloud computing, Big Data, and AI’s are working together to bring about huge improvements in the way physicians look at and interpret medical data. We expect more effort to be put into rigid controls and compliance in this field, so the industry can make better use of it.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) will likely go extinct.

Despite creating massive shockwaves in the early part of 2011, the very legislation that created them is most likely going to end them. TechTarget’s Brian Eastwood explains that “…while an EMR does let a physician track patient data and improve his or her care quality, it's an electronic health record (EHR) that can be shared among caregivers and accessed by patients. Given the emphasis that's expected to be placed on data exchange in meaningful use stage 2, don't be surprised to see EMR technology go the way of the dodo.” Along with EMR’s, Eastwood expects HIS and CIS tech to be replaced by the end of the year.

3D printing will become crucial in the medical field.

What started out as a fabrication tool is already making waves in the health industry. In theory, a computer system with a 3D printer could be capable of crafting perfect prosthetics, or even stem cell-based replacements, for damaged skin or limbs. “In the future we’ll probably use 3Dprinting and stem cells to make libraries of replacement parts. It will start with simple tissues and eventually maybe we’ll be printing organs.”


Pam Argeris is a thought leader in the Healthcare Industry and possesses extensive, hands-on experience with CMS compliance, and multiple regulatory bodies such as NCQA, JACHO, and DOI. In her role at Merrill Corp., Pam focuses on developing solutions for compliance and quality assurance, delivered in a cost effective manner to improve beneficiary and prospect communications. You can contact Pam at

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