Regulations of the Affordable Care Act and cost savings are pushing the adoption of digital health systems.
- One of the biggest investments that healthcare providers and companies are making in recent years involved electronic health records (EHRs). Regulations in the Affordable Care Act and Meaningful Use provisions are heavily influenced by the use of EHRs. Many government funding initiatives have provisions that include the use of electronic record keeping and technology upgrades.
As reported on EHRIntelligence.com, the adoption rate of EHR and health IT systems has been steadily increasing over the last two decades. Numbers released in September by HIMSS Analytics show that in 2005, EHR adoption had reached 18 percent of providers. The number increased to 40 percent in 2008 and currently, some states and provider types have achieved near universal EHR implementation.
It is easy to see why EHR adoption has become so popular when you consider the impact on the revenue cycle. According to a new report from Juniper Research titled “Digital Health, Remote Monitoring and EHR Cost Savings 2014-2019,” the financial impact of EHRs worldwide in the coming years will be significant. Between 2014 and 2019, EHRs will delivery cost savings to the global healthcare industry of $78 billion.
The report argues that EHRs are a key part of future digital healthcare initiatives and forecasts. These systems are also crucial as the supporting infrastructure for a wide range of digital healthcare and mHealth projects. This can be seen in initiatives like Accountable Care Organizations, where healthcare providers pay according to measured “wellness” of a patient population and are resulting in a re-think of how healthcare needs should be addressed. The growth of digital healthcare is a result.
The medical profession is going to increasingly rely on EHRs to support disparate elements of digital health. Workers have become significantly more engaged in digital healthcare in the last 18 months.
“Advanced EHRs will provide the ‘glue’ to bring together the devices, stakeholders and medical records in the future connected healthcare environment,” the report’s author, Anthony Cox, said.
However, the report does note that these positive trends will be offset by the lack of randomized controlled mHealth trials and the diverse nature of the global healthcare industry. A digital healthcare approach requires buy-in from a large number of stakeholders, and needs to be tailored for geographical regions.
Despite this, there are two factors that will keep digital healthcare pushing forward. The first is the role that new regulations play because they are heavily influenced by digital healthcare and impose less stringent regulatory obligations on digital healthcare companies. The second is that the principle of technologically advanced healthcare is becoming popularized through mobile interfaces and development kits like Apple HealthKit and Samsung’s SAMI.
The role of EHRs in the modern healthcare landscape is here to stay and the financial benefits are leading the way.