Daniel Kivatinos

Top healthcare IT predictions for 2020

February 04, 2020
By Daniel Kivatinos

Healthcare is one of those sectors where often times we don’t see much change, but over the next decade, we will see change accelerate. This year we’ll witness a positive and disruptive process taking place within healthcare. Some of the changes happening will progress slowly and other changes in healthcare will happen quickly. Here are some of the big changes to come in 2020:

The cloud
This is the year of the cloud. We’ve seen over time that the medical community is getting more and more comfortable embracing cloud software. Looking at some recent reports and statistics, you can see the mass adoption of cloud solutions is happening all around us. As I talk to founders of companies, they agree there’s a massive change happening where medical centers and practices are moving to the cloud at a faster rate and with more ease than ever before. Cloud companies like Acronis, Ambra Health, NexHealth, Physitrack and Updox are trending up and creating solutions for healthcare professionals to leverage.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Startups in this space such as Diagnoss, Holly by Nimblr, and Ada geared towards digital health are also on the rise. Diagnoss provides an AI medical coding assistant, Nimblr offers a multilingual AI assistant that automates patient communication/scheduling and Ada is a popular medical machine learning company that benefits the entire industry because it helps patients and medical professionals gather insights quickly about a patient. These companies are helping to reduce costs for medical practices and help to lower the staff burden by having to do more work than necessary. Additionally, if you take a closer look at the funding behind this group of the tech sector, you will see large amounts of investment on the venture-capital side.

Many health IT software vendors battle for market share, keeping data siloed and this has slowed innovation in healthcare. Software vendors have been keeping patients and medical facility customers hostage by forcing the customers to stay with their software. Now with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), software vendors are opening their data to common communication languages such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). In my opinion, FHIR is the most widely accepted API standard and will continue to gain traction in 2020. Countless companies are starting to leverage FHIR according to the Argonaut implementation specifications, Apple, being the most notable. There is an incredible opportunity for innovation from APIs, and I see a brighter future where patients, medical professionals and institutions will be able to share medical data at a much faster rate than ever before.

Internet OF Things (IoT) and wearables
IoT companies are coming out with more health-related devices and software apps, such as wearable tattoos that can tell if you’ve had enough sun, IoT glucometers, and a blood pressure cuff that can track your sleep patterns. Also, it was just in the press late last year that Google bought Fitbit which will bring big change to the industry because this IoT wearable company will align with Google to become more of a health-focused company. Notable startups that I see as super innovative in the health tech space are Lief which is hardware for psychiatrists to remotely monitor patients and 100Plus smartwatch which monitors users’ heart activity.

We are all using the cameras on our phones, with apps like FaceTime and Facebook Messenger to talk to each other seeing each other in real-time, looking at facial expressions, it adds so much to a call. The same type of change will happen and is happening in healthcare, with many medical professionals starting to use video and audio streaming technologies like Beam Health, Physitrack and Chiron Health. These new HIPAA-compliant companies are becoming more of the norm and people are adopting the technology quickly. If you take a look at going to see a psychiatrist, for example, there is a stigma sometimes in society to go. The act of getting to a physical appointment, with travel time is a lot on a person. Now, with the tap of a button on your phone, you can talk to a mental health professional within seconds removing the travel time to the provider’s physical office and reducing the mental burden from the patient. Advancements in telemedicine can help in this area in 2020. According to the AMA, Telehealth is up 53%, with continued growth.

Genomics is really becoming more commonplace with the rise of 23andMe and Ancestry.com. If you walk into Target or Walmart there are genomics tests available for purchase over the counter making these tests more accessible to everyone. Genomind is another great example of a company working in this space that allows physicians to gain more insights about what medications to give a patient based on their history and genetic background.

In closing, the world is really changing in and around healthcare and I think we have a bright future. As we progress, technology, biotech and other areas will see better information exchange, easier access to healthcare and so much more. Healthcare can be a lagger in terms of change, but I do see change happening. It is exciting to see where the industry is heading in 2020.

About the author: Daniel Kivatinos, Co-Founder and COO of DrChrono