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What to expect from Health IT in 2011

January 5, 2011

We may not know exactly what the future holds for technological advancements in the healthcare industry, but it is safe to assume that there will be many exciting new applications in 2011.

Although no crystal ball exists, some experts spoke with the Progressive Physician about what they predict for health information technology in the coming year.

Starting the first of the year, government stimulus money will begin coming through for medical offices that have adopted electronic health records software, which could help spur a lot of growth, according to the website.

Charles Antonini, an internist from California, predicts that more advanced medical applications for the iPad and other tablet computers will evolve. “These will include applications to help with e-medical records as well as e-prescription services,” he says. Other apps may help educate patients and instruct them on how to control ailments, including diabetes and cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

Smartphones, just as they have in our everyday lives, will also revolutionize the way physicians interact and communicate, according to Sean Handel, vice president of a mobile app medical company. As physicians become more tethered to these devices, they will become integral to “not only their personal lives, but their professional lives as well,” he told the website.

Ron Wince, a health IT management expert, believes that cloud computing will infiltrate the healthcare industry in 2011, according to the site. The process of internet-based computing with shared resources will become more widely accepted as compliance issues are dealt with, he says.

Betty Otter-Nickerson, president of Sage’s healthcare division, also added her predictions to the Progressive Physician’s discussion. She expects that connectivity will become increasingly more important in rural and underserved areas, “where healthcare is typically seen as a rationed commodity.”

“With HIEs, telemedicine and patient centered medical homes easily, and seamlessly, exchanging care and providing information to patients, healthcare information technology is quickly becoming the care equalizer,” she explained on the website.

Social media may play a major role in 2011, according to iHealth Beat. One-half of U.S. citizens will use social media for health, writes the site. Social networking is moving in the mainstream among people who must manage chronic health conditions, as online patient communities are maturing in the market. In the coming year, more sites will emerge that will help patients better manage chronic conditions, such as pain and depression, says the site.

No matter what 2011 holds for healthcare professionals, it is important to stay in-the-know about the latest advancements.

“Finding success may be as simple as educating oneself, asking questions and engaging in the healthcare conversation, be it with fellow practitioners and peers,” Otter-Nickerson tells the Progressive Physician. “Rely on the support of intelligent sources for guidance, advice and leadership as you work through regulation and reform.”

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