After a decade of digitisation, what lies ahead for healthcare technology?

2 Jan 2020777 Views

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Aaron Shaver. Image: OST

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In the last decade, there was a great deal of progress in implementing electronic health records but marginal gains in clinical outcomes, according to OST’s Aaron Shaver.

Aaron Shaver, director of healthcare and life sciences at OST, a business technology and IT consulting firm, has worked in and around the area of healthcare technology for his entire career.

“Having worked in delivery organisations, technology services providers and on academic research, I have gotten a holistic view of the digital journey the healthcare industry is on,” he told Siliconrepublic.com.

As we enter a new decade where there’s potential to see innumerable innovations and advances in healthcare technology, Shaver reflected on some of the advances we have seen from 2010 up to the present day – and what we might expect in the coming years.

‘We are working to understand and implement new digital methods and tools that disrupt the way we deliver care’
– AARON SHAVER

The impact of EHRs

Shaver said that the leaps and bounds in implementing electronic health records (EHRs) made a huge impact over the last decade. According to OST, only 16pc of hospitals in the US were using EHRs in 2009, but by 2017 this figure increased to 94pc.

“But it’s not all positive,” he added. “Electronic records have imposed massive financial and operational burdens on healthcare organisations, with marginal gains in clinical outcomes.”

“At the beginning of the decade, the healthcare industry was still solidly in the middle of digitising the existing paper processes and trying to understand systems thinking.

“Now, we are working to understand and implement new digital methods and tools that disrupt the way we deliver care. Later stages of transformation are regaining momentum as we see more compelling business and clinical outcomes.”

As advancements and innovations are reached in the realm of healthcare technology, Shaver said that it’s important to look to other industries for ideas on how to disrupt further. “We have a lot that we could have learned from other industries that are further along in the transformation process.

“I am surprised that we are not harvesting more lessons around data utilisation, innovation and disruption from manufacturing, retail and fintech.”

What should we expect next?

When asked of his predictions for healthcare technology in the next decade, Shaver said that he sees a great deal of potential in data.

“As we proceed, healthcare delivery organisations and their technology partners are working on how to use data to develop insights about clinical outcomes, financial impacts and patient perception.

“The industry will shift from using data in the historical sense to real-time use-cases. Additionally, we are learning how to ‘digitise’ more abstract qualities of the provider and patient relationship, such as empathy and clinical outreach, that were lost in the initial stages of transformation and health system consolidation.”

Kelly Earley is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com