Each year, the health industry is characterized by different trends. In 2019, the industry emphasized improved patient and provider communications, better access to care, and higher levels of patient satisfaction. Next year, however, experts predict an emphasis on technology instead. Incorporating technology and online services into patient health management will expedite communications between patients and health providers, provide new tools for patient care, and create a more patient-focused experience overall. Health IT is also expected to bring better care to at-risk populations.
A new digital trend
As before, patient care will be a priority among health providers. But as patients increasingly bring technology into other aspects of their lives, they’ll want to do the same with their health information. As statistics show, technology already plays a role in the lives of patients and providers:
As technology is embraced by more medical offices, hospitals, and patient care centers, these numbers are expected to rise. Furthermore, experts predict an emphasis on other technologies in the health industry, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Artificial Intelligence refers to the use of special software and tools to analyze complex medical data and perform medical functions. Machine learning improves administrative processes in hospitals and health centers to help manage infectious diseases and create personalized medical treatments for consumers.
Data protection and security
Integrating technology into the health industry has many advantages for providers and patients. However, it also carries some risks. The healthcare industry is one of the most targeted industries in the United States for cybercrimes. Therefore, patient data protection, privacy, and security will simultaneously be a top concern for the industry in 2020.
To maximize data security in 2020, health providers aim to partner with technology firms that can provide the software and digital defense mechanisms required to keep patient data safe. This partnership will also take the risk of data protection off the shoulders of health providers and transfer it to subcontractors. Furthermore, large technology companies have the resources and knowledge required to prevent data breaches and attacks. Forming health-technology partnerships, therefore, is essential for advancing the use of technology in the health sector and gaining the trust of both patients and providers for digital-based care.
Protecting patient rights
Along with key health IT partnerships, patients also benefit from laws that protect their privacy and rights. These laws relate to protected health information (PHI) and are a special branch of patient rights that are protected under HIPAA law. While HIPAA covers patient health information in general, PHI applies to patient health information stored digitally. PHI information is governed by the HIPAA Security Rule, which requires safeguards to be used to ensure the integrity, quality, and confidentiality of patients’ health information when stored online. These HIPAA security rules also impose fines and regulations for noncompliance.
Impacts of technology in the health industry
Ultimately, the increased integration of technology into the health industry will make access to health information and resources easier for patients and providers. Using tech-based tools will also allow providers to reach more vulnerable populations and conduct research more easily to better understand human diseases, patterns, and health trends. In turn, that expanded knowledge base and ease of communication will allow health providers to interact more easily with patients and make health information more accessible.
The coming year will bring a new, tech-based focus to the healthcare industry. While some measures have already been adopted to integrate technology into patient care, technology will become increasingly present in the health industry in the coming year. Our HIPAA-compliant SecureDrive product line is at the forefront of that change. Our hardware encrypted hard drive products seamlessly integrate into existing and emerging operations, providing an ideal method of storage for protecting patients’ vulnerable health information. Contact us at 1-800-875-3230 to learn about how our technology products can help your health care facility stay at the front of the digital health trend in the coming year.