Monday, January 2, 2012

Beyond EMR Software: Health IT Trends of 2012

2011, without a doubt, was the Year of Meaningful Use and EMR.  For 2012, Tech Crunch published their health technology trend predictions of the New Year; their predictions point toward the rise in mobile device technology that functions complimentary to EMR software.  The technology trends this year bring patients and doctors closer together through the sharing of mobile medical data and bring patients closer to each other with expanding social networks.

Smartphone Devices

In 2012, your iPhone or Android device could save your life.  If not save it, greatly improve the quality of your health.  Although not yet approved for sale in the U.S., device accessories to monitor vital statistics are rapidly advancing.  By then end of this year, you could be using your iPhone as an electrocardiogram while your doctor watches in realtime as the data transmits to EMR software.  Other mobile device accessories in the works include glucometers and otoscopes.

Cloud Diagnosis

Through imaging and data sent from smartphone devices, diagnoses can be made from remote locations using cloud technology by either a physician or artificial intelligence.  Pattern-based fields of medicine such as dermatology and gynecology will benefit from this technology.  Rashes, moles and pap smears are submitted to the cloud for the shape and pattern to be analyzed by AI for abnormalities.  Smartphone apps for cloud diagnosis refer users to doctors in their area if abnormalities are found.


The rise in popularity in electronic medical consultations, or eConsultations, has been mentioned on this blog before.  Usually through patient portal membership, patients communicate questions and concerns with their doctor via email, text or telephone for a small fee, meaning less trips to the doctor.  TechCrunch takes it up a notch and claims audio-video communication Jetson's-style via Skype, FaceTime and FaceChat will become the eConsultation norm and a HIPAA-compliant system needs to be devised for this form of communication.

Social Networking

The wild popularity of Facebook and LinkedIn makes people willing to share information that would make our parents blush - well, mine at least.  Some personal details are TMI, but others could end up benefiting others.  Health information-based social networking sites are also predicted to emerge in 2012.  Social networking sites like CureTogether and PatientsLikeMe let patients share and consolidate health information. They serve as one part fellowship for those with similar medical conditions and histories and equal part database for clinical studies.  Clinical data from EMR software can be pooled together to run clinical trials based on geographic region.


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