5 health IT predictions for 2015

Over the past year, physicians have seen a lot of changes in regard to electronic health record implementation, meaningful use requirements and ICD-10. Everyone from providers to technology vendors are working to make the delivery of health care data and documentation faster and more efficient, with even the biggest names in the tech industry making significant progress in health care IT. 

Experts have made a few predictions about the continuing progress of health care IT this year based off of the many changes implemented in 2014. Here are five predictions.

1. EHRs will be embraced – more so than before
Physicians have begun to embrace EHRs over the past couple of years, and health IT experts are expecting that they will do so even more this year. Although many providers have struggled to meet meaningful use standards, the benefits of the system will really begin to show. The outcome of patient care and enhanced workflow will encourage more providers to start choosing EHRs, regardless of the strict regulations, according to EHR Intelligence.

The convenience and accessibility of patient portals may interest more patients, which in turn will encourage providers to use EHRs, as they will serve as an enticing feature that could play a role in attracting more patients to a practice. 

2. Wearable devices will soar in popularity
According to FierceHealthIT, by 2018, mobile and wearable technology will become a major aspect of the delivery of health care data. In fact, IDC FutureScape for Health Insights estimated that 65 percent of consumer transactions with healthcare organizations will be through mobile technology. This means that providers will have to make more of an effort to develop strategies that work with cellphones and the Internet. 

By 2018, 70 percent of health care organizations are also predicted to invest in mobile applications and virtual care, increasing the popularity of EHR systems.

3. Quality will reign over quantity
Experts expect to see providers begin to care more about the quality of their care, rather than how many patients they can see and how many procedures they can get done. As a result, health IT vendors will start to notice that practices are investing more in technology that is efficient at identifying patients who are at high risk of care setbacks.

To provide EHR systems that meet these standards, vendors will have to create EHRs with easily accessible interfaces that providers can use to quickly find their patients' information. Systems are currently closed off, presenting EHR companies with the challenge of developing software with more open environments, according to EHR Intelligence. 

4. Data breaches will call for new security strategies
Experts from Health Informatics explained that many EHR systems are not equipped with the proper security. For companies to take this problem seriously, there will likely be a couple major data breaches to emphasize the need for enhanced security features. 

"By 2015, half of healthcare organizations will have experienced between one and five cyber attacks in the previous 12 months – with a third of those attacks successful. This will necessitate investments in a multi-prong security strategy to avoid disruptions to normal operations and incurring fines and notification costs," IDC Health Insights reported.

5. ICD-10 will be delayed – again
According to Health Informatics, over the past couple of years, the health IT world has heard that there will be no more delays, quickly followed by another postponement, which have been implemented by Congress.

Experts believe that the yearly debate over the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula for paying physicians will cause another delay, despite the promises that there will be no more postponements.