Top 5 healthcare industry predictions for the year 2018

In 2017, the healthcare industry saw several trends in healthcare technology advancement from FDA’s move to ease the pathway for innovative medical devices as well as relaxation given to certain mobile applications. Technology leaders like Apple and Google have shown more interest in the Healthcare industry and would likely expand this year.

We see consolidation happening across several healthcare sectors, which in return is found to create unique opportunities for Healthcare IT. This paradigm shift induces grounds for innovation as regulatory amends continue to shape the industry. The top 5 predictions by industry leaders are as follows:

1. Congress might address the telehealth reimbursement The telehealth reimbursement bill has been shelved last year as tax reforms and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act received more priority by the House. However, the prediction for this year is that the House cannot shelve the telehealth for long and will be addressed by the Congress.

2. More lawsuits to be filed over Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) incentive payments The EHR incentive program was introduced to provide EHR incentives to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record technology. After having paid billions as EHR incentives to hospitals and physicians, the federals auditors are revaluating on what they exactly paid for, post the unveiling of fraudulent submissions of unaccounted data. Precautions such as corporate integrity agreement and free system upgrade to prevent and bring more clarity on implicated government charges and certification violation have been adopted. However, these issues will not mellow down and will likely come up as we wait to see how the DoJ handles these cases after federal prosecutors declined to join two falsified Claims Act cases.

3. Data blocking enforcement to create more issues Data blocking, which some believe is a problem that needs to be tackled, while others believe it does not exist. ONC says it will release Data blocking definition and guidance this spring. The OIG will only start fining once the definition of data blocking is finalized; however, the agency has already begun looking for complaints and referrals.

4. Another cyber-attack on the healthcare industry predicted this year There is an adage that we need to learn from our mistakes. However, little has been amended when it comes to cybersecurity. The Healthcare industry is as much as vulnerable as it was before the attack and cannot be fixed overnight while the cybercriminals are only getting progressively more powerful. The only positive is that awareness has been created amongst people.

5. Five big technology giants may choose partnership to penetrate the healthcare industry The partnerships starting from Apple with Standford or Google with several academic medical centers, more such collaboration is expected in 2018.