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Healthcare IT: Hot Trends For 2016 Posted on : Jan 03 - 2016

In the second of this two-part series on healthcare IT, we look at the influx of healthcare data and what it will mean for practitioners and IT professionals. In part one, we explored the ways in which advances in patient-focused data collection, wearables, and the Internet of Things will change how doctors and patients communicate.

In the next 12 months we'll see a continued influx of data from myriad sources flooding into healthcare organizations and medical research institutes. Much of it will be siloed, and concerns about security and meeting regulatory requirements could hamper how much progress is made. Still, healthcare IT leaders and others in the industry are optimistic about what lies ahead -- and how healthcare will improve as a result.

 "The US averaged 1 billion physician office visits in 2010, with over 332 visits per 100 persons. The most frequent illness reported was a cough. How do we make doctors' office visits more beneficial to the patient, while allowing doctors the ability to spend time with patients who need it most? The mining and sharing of big data," said Cedars-Sinai CIO Darren Dworkin.

Mark Goldstein, president of the International Research Center (IRC), is looking forward to more and better data. For instance, Goldstein is excited by personalized or precision medicine. "The intersection of low-cost genomic and proteomic sequencing for patients, combined with molecular-level cancer and other disease diagnostics, run through high performance computing centers, can be compared with big data aggregated from past patient characteristics, disease specifics, treatment protocols, and outcomes to allow much greater treatment design and success," he said.

Among the projects underway, Goldstein cited Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong's Institute for Advanced Health and a startup, Systems Imagination. Another complementary trend, according to Goldstein, is AI applied to medical diagnostics. IBM's Watson has been demonstrated for such uses. "It's not just for playing Jeopardy," said Goldstein.

Big data is a challenge for any enterprise especially in figuring out how to handle it. "In 2016, the challenge for healthcare enterprises will be how to make sense of the data, as well as how to develop the infrastructure needed so they can continue to scale up," said PerfectServe's CEO, Terry Edwards. For example, Edwards said he expects more use of relationship algorithms that formulate inferences, allowing decisions to be made in real-time. View More