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by Eugene Borukhovich

Where is the Future of Healthcare ISVs?

What are the next big healthcare trends independent software vendors (ISVs) should explore and invest in? Driven by new emerging pain points in the use of electronic medical health records, ISVs will face both new challenges and new market opportunities.

The power and responsibilities of electronic health records (EHRs) are undeniable. EHRs are becoming a more important element of the healthcare ecosystem, and software vendors will need to become more aware of which new technologies they want to invest in, so it is important to make the right choices now. In this white article you will find a number of significant trends that will shape the future of ISVs and deliver new solutions for an ever-growing health IT market.

Mobile Health Data

Patient-centric devices make everything go mobile. In the 2014 EHR Software Buyer Report, Software Advice presented their results from talking to medical practices searching for EHR software solutions. An analysis from 385 integrations which aimed at uncovering physician’s most common pain points, revealed that mobile support topped the list of requested features. According to Software Advice, almost 40% of buyers wanted systems that would allow access from tablets or smartphones. Maybe more importantly, the report suggests that some of the buyers expressed great urgency for a mobile access feature. Such demand-driven trends should give ISVs an important clue to where the market is moving.

Source: pwc.se

Cloud Based EHR

The Holy Grail is to create a system where anyone entitled has secure access to their data at the point when they need it. No one wants to go back to the days when we didn’t have 24/7 access to our email accounts on our smartphones. Mahek Shah, MD, described a growing demand by consumers to have greater access to their data, and options such as portability of the user’s own health information.

The technical side of things is feasible. Take a look at one of Shah’s examples where his company was able to send Ebola-related, patient travel history questions via the electronic record system athenaClinicals within an hour of media frenzy after a Dallas hospital sent an Ebola patient home. Shah’s positivity about the opportunities of cloud based EHR systems may be based on the fact that cloud based IT infrastructures is capable of seamlessly pushing updates in near real time between providers and patients.

Personalized Healthcare & Precision Medicine

EHR systems will become increasingly “tailor-made”. A system needs to meet specific demands by specific healthcare specialties for specific needs by specific patients. In the concept of precision medicine – or interchangeably called personalized medicine - EHR systems could play an ever more important role. For ISVs producing EHR solutions, it is worth looking at precision medicine with a fresh pair of eyes.

As explained in this post, the idea is to incorporate genomic data into EHR systems. This incorporation into the EHR ecosystem would commonly fall into the category of bright, shiny objects but luckily, EHR providers such as Epic are changing this perception right now. What ISVs need to think about is how to effectively serve the needs of specific healthcare sub-areas and this can only happen if ISVs work closer together with healthcare specialties.

Usability Trend

Now there is a great need for EHR software solutions to become more user-friendly. According to an article by HIT, as many as one out of every four ambulatory EMRs systems could be at risk of being replaced. This is an opportunity for both large and small ISVs to offer better EHR software solutions. Whether specifically for ambulatory practices or not, the number one reason physicians gave for switching from their current EHR system is usability. The survey of one million physicians also found that user-friendliness was the most important feature of an EHR system today so ISVs need to build EHR systems with a more usable UX/UI in order to meet their customers’ needs and remain competitive.

Big Data Analytics for Personalized Healthcare

One of the most significant opportunities over the next five years is the use of big data analytics software to predict patients’ health. Independent healthcare providers such as Explorys Platform or Lumiata are expected to create and refine solutions that will allow spotting patterns, and even support healthcare providers to predict a person’s future health. One indicator of a ‘hot’ technology is the steep increase in funding for tech startup companies working in that space and 2014 set a record for startup funding for big data/analytics companies in the healthcare arena with $406 million 32 invested, an increase of 161% from the previous year. Large ISVs are expected to face more fierce competition from these well-funded smaller and medium sized tech startup companies.

Conclusions

With great power comes great responsibility. This is true for the role of ISVs producing solutions for healthcare and the rules of the game have become significantly more sophisticated. Healthcare organizations demand better quality modules and features to allow enhanced usability, access to data in the cloud and on the go, and the liberty to analyze data for predicting patients’ future health.