2014: The year of interoperability

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As we head into the New Year, it’s important to proactively consider the changes that are taking place within the healthcare industry. From the Affordable Care Act providing access to millions of previously uninsured Americans to the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for medical diagnoses reporting, 2014 will bring about some of the most significant challenges within the healthcare market to date. How these challenges are met — or not met — could largely determine which providers are standing tall this time next year.

Not only is the bigger healthcare industry facing challenges, but so, too, must imaging providers consider how the year will shape up for the radiology community. We venture to guess that advanced interoperability and enterprise-wide imaging strategies will be key to radiological and bottom-line success.
Here are some additional considerations for the upcoming year:
  1. Meeting regulatory compliance.
Meaningful Use and ICD-10 will continue to top the agendas of many healthcare organizations as they strive to meet the requirements of these two 800-pound regulatory gorillas. As the industry draws closer and closer to October 2014, every imaging practice in the country must realize the effects of the ICD-10 deadline and should be especially alert with regards to clinical reporting. In addition, many radiologists will also have to manage Meaningful Use. Both regulations are opportunities to prepare for better image and data exchange, leveraging cutting-edge technologies to enable advanced interoperability and implement enterprise-wide imaging strategies.
  1. Addressing value-based care for bottom-line success.
As in 2013, financial pressures in hospitals and other care settings will only increase as the U.S. healthcare system moves away from fee-for-service reimbursement models and toward value- or outcomes-based care. Imaging departments will have to address the same challenges in the coming year, and radiologists must make patient-centered care a priority to affect bottom-line success. By leveraging advanced interoperability solutions that allow for sharing, exchanging and gathering images across the care continuum, providers can better understand their patients’ longitudinal records, minimize unnecessary imaging tests and reduce radiation exposure and, ultimately, enhance the overall patient experience.
  1. Understanding that Big Data will only get bigger.
Expect Big Data to garner more of the healthcare spotlight in the coming year. The significance of the growing ability of providers and payers to gather, analyze, interpret and apply patient data such as imaging reports cannot be overstated. No longer is an individual patient’s care being viewed as a series of disconnected visits or “encounters” stored in individual silos. Instead, providers are increasingly integrating and sharing data to achieve higher levels of care and offset falling reimbursements. This approach, which has been working for many years in retail and other industry sectors, is now being applied directly to patient care and treatment with promising results for patient care quality and costs.
  1. Improving physician-patient interaction to enhance patient care.
The importance of the patient experience will greatly influence the way healthcare organizations operate, pushing organizations in 2014 to find ways to enhance the overall process for their “customers.” Consider how it will affect the patient if he or she is able to access his or her test results and other records, as well as communicate with their providers via online patient portal. It’s just a matter of time before this becomes the rule rather than the exception.
So what will all this mean for healthcare? The common denominator underlying these trends and challenges is technology. The key to success in addressing these issues throughout 2014 and beyond is an integrated data – and imaging – management strategy that enables providers to take full advantage of all the technologies available to acquire, analyze, store and share more patient data than at any other time in the history of medicine. When we look back this time next year, I’m sure we’ll say 2014 was the “Year of Interoperability” in healthcare.
What trends do you think will affect imaging in 2014? Join the conversation: Tweet @MergeHealthcare with #Merge14Trends to let us know what you think!

Originally posted on: 1/31/2014 1:54:58 PM

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