Datica Blog

January 15, 2015

We Ask 20 Questions for Healthcare in 2015

Datica Team

Editorial Staff

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. - Voltaire

We're fans of Benedict Evans. He's got an exceptional sense of current events and future trends for mobile and general technology. While not specific to healthcare, his analysis and commentary are fantastic and important signals for us. We loved his recent post 20 questions for 2015. Being fans of yearly predictions, we took Evans' approach and applied it to healthcare. We added our own opinions throughout. We would love to hear your questions for 2015 or reactions to our questions below!

  1. Will Epic open up access to MyChart and its EHR for vendors other than Apple? You have to imagine Epic customers would like to get data from the majority of the population that doesn't have iOS devices.
  2. Will Google Glass cross the tipping point and will we, as patients, start to expect paramedics and doctors to be wearing Glass while delivering care? Pristine and Augmedix have good traction so I'd keep an eye on them and the specific applications of Glass in healthcare.
  3. Will health systems figure out a sustained way to engage patients around their medical data? Novel ways to engage patients are emerging, but tying engagement to real savings or financial payouts is what really works. It's a loaded question that will take years to answer, and is not just in the control of health systems and vendors.
  4. Will providers start caring about continuous tracking data from patients? This ties to #1 above but means providers must use data with patient care decisions. One of the big questions we often get asked by vendors is the best method to write data back into EHRs to fit it into clinician workflows. There isn't one answer to this question, but integrating with EHRs in some way is becoming essential to assure adoption.
  5. Will the hype of EHR APIs (Allscripts, Athena, Greenway, etc) be replaced by usable, two-way data exchange with EHRs? This is going to happen someday, but we're skeptical that 2015 will be the year. This is not just on the vendors, it's on the health system customers of those vendors.
  6. Will FHIR spark growth and replace traditional HL7 interfaces? We hear about FHIR more everyday. In fact, at Catalyze we're betting on FHIR this year and working to add FHIR support and customers to our EHR integration service. Stay tuned for more on that.
  7. Will investments in digital health continue to outpace or crush previous years? There's a lot of debate around venture investing in general, with people wondering if the broader market is getting frothy. We think healthcare investment will continue to grow, and from what we saw and heard at the JP Morgan conference this week we're confident in that prediction.
  8. Who will be the next digital health IPO? Our bet is on AirStrip.
  9. Will Epic and IBM get the massive DoD EHR contract or will it go open source (built on VistA)? With $11B at stake, this deal could solidify an EHR company the way Kaiser made Epic the EHR; the difference here is that there aren't any small EHRs competing. Still, it could be a big blow to Epic as many have expected them to get it, and there is a chance they might not.
  10. Speaking of open source, will we see breakout open source initiatives in healthcare in 2015? There was VistA. Now there's Blue Button and SMART and a host of other smaller open source initiatives. We'll be open sourcing more of our work in 2015 and hope others plan to do the same.
  11. Can HITRUST, with the backing of some big names in healthcare, become the de facto compliance framework that healthcare enterprises expect from vendors? We're wondering if HITRUST is going to be expected instead of traditional HIPAA assessments and audits. Athena, who appear to be heavily invested in HITRUST, recently announced a partnership. While awareness of HITRUST has been increased, 2015 won't be the year it replaces HIPAA audits.
  12. Will somebody launch a set of HIPAA compliant SaaS services for modern health tech companies? We're thinking about things like support desk software as examples, which if compliant would allow vendors to warn customers about non-compliant Blank-as-a-Service offerings. We think this will happen in force in 2015, both from existing vendors and new entrants.
  13. Is Epic going public in 2015? It won't happen this year but we're betting it'll happen down the road, the trend of public companies coming back to private ownership, like DELL, not withstanding.
  14. Seeing as healthcare is local, will a host of new, geographically focused patient engagement and consumer health services proliferate? Our vote is yes. It's been in the works for a while and we've seen examples as ZocDoc competitors.
  15. Is 2015 the breakout year for subscription-based medicine? Whether you call it concierge or direct primary care, this segment appeals to providers and patients. It's also a segment in dire need of better tech-enabled services.
  16. What disease-specific offerings will launch this year? We have successful services that have focused on specific conditions like diabetes, cardiac care, mental health, respiratory care, STIs, women's health, and some cancers. 2015 should see more such focused services have success, and we'd bet those services will target conditions that have existing engaged patients and are suitably large populations (maybe things like epilepsy and rheumatologic conditions?).
  17. Which HIEs will be successful at flipping to offering valuable services to data sharing members? We don't know but we're betting on more HIEs rebooting the traditional models they've used.
  18. Athena is growing it's accelerator program, now with locations in both Boston and California. Other EHRs obviously see themselves as the platforms for future apps in healthcare. Will more EHRs launch accelerator-like programs in 2015 to try to capture mind share for developers and startups? I'm surprised we haven't seen more already, especially from the larger vendors like Allscripts, Greenway, and eClinicalWorks.
  19. Will medical boards from different states come together to agree on rules surrounding the use and virtual care (telemedicine) services? There was progress on this front in 2014, but not much. Unfortunately this seems like a ways off. We briefly touched on multi-state telemedicine care with our Dr. Chasin Innovation Series interview.
  20. Can the pace of moving traditional technology to the cloud accelerate? We've had several discussions with healthcare CIOs about cloud computing and they often cite EHRs and financial systems, like Lawson, as the main drivers of cost in IT infrastructure. Those systems won't be moving in 2015, though Epic may finally launch it's first hosted customer at its Verona data center. Much more likely is we'll continue to see health systems and payers integrate, develop, and adopt new technology that leverages cloud computing in a secure and HIPAA compliant way. In other words, we're betting on ourselves in 2015.
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