Three Health Technology Resolutions for 2018

Listicles and predictions can’t be trusted. Yes, we’re zooming on through Q1 2018, but the flurry of ‘health technology predictions and trends to watch in 2018’ hasn’t slowed. These articles are one small step above clickbait. They tend to be self-serving conjectures, too broad to be useful, or wildly inaccurate. Of course, there is some fun and value in speculating. But this year’s crop of conjectures has been especially head-turning. And not in the way you might hope. More than once, this year’s ‘predictions’ prompted a quick scroll up to check the article’s date. Without the 2018 timestamp, these predictions may well have been from 2016, 2015, or even earlier for that matter.

Healthcare as an industry moves slowly, and many of the goals we all share — better patient experience, easier access to care, and improved health outcomes — will likely always be relevant, but as we move ahead into 2018, instead of going for the ‘sexy’ prediction, perhaps we ought to join the masses and make some resolutions for the year ahead. Resolutions have a reputation for being difficult to maintain, in no small part because they require persistent accountability. We can use more of that in healthcare, especially when it comes to the technologies being churned out in such quick and rapid succession.

Let’s take a look at some of the health tech predictions for the year 2018, and see where we can turn prediction to resolution.

Prediction: Big data solutions will be in high demand.

Resolution: Begin with a strategy. Gain visibility into your data first, then take steps towards control and management.

Here at BaseHealth, we know big data means. Our engine has analyzed more than 150 million published, peer-reviewed research studies containing data on 70 million lives. The engine continues to learn, and now, in parallel, it digests information on patient populations in the hundreds of thousands range. Yet, the problem we’re helping our clients with is more precise than providing a ‘big data solution’. Our clients — at-risk ACOs, health plans, and healthcare providers — need to understand the populations they’re dealing with. Our engine provides that visibility. Once our clients are empowered with that knowledge, they often know exactly what to do. Big data is abstract, nebulous. Focus on the actionable, and begin with a strategy.

Prediction: AI heads towards diagnosis

Resolution: Apply AI to practice better medicine.

Many of the predictions we hear in regards to technology in the future sound like science fiction. Imagining what ‘could be’ is part of the fun, but the reality is that we don’t do a good job practicing healthcare we know to be effective. Instead of imagining a future where robots replace doctors, let’s create a present where technology-enabled tools and services help doctors do what we know works, and do it faster, in a more user-friendly manner, and in a way that begins to push the envelope in terms of scale, complexity, and cost effectiveness. The work we do at BaseHealth is just that. Our technology enables clinicians to practice good medicine by identifying illnesses earlier, and administering treatment when it can have the greatest impact. Our engine does what any good doctor would do on their own, but with the added advantage of AI. Let’s practice more good medicine, and let’s do it now.

Prediction: Winners will have to get real about patient and consumer engagement — and that will likely mean platform plays

Resolution: Join in on the platform plays; find the business case for interoperability and capitalize on it.

Patient care is the center of everything we do in healthcare, but we sometimes lose sight of that in our rush to implement the latest new technology. As patients continue to bear increasing financial responsibility for their care, and increasing stress deciding between options for their care, it is our duty to assist with information and transparency around these matters. The best patient care, the best population management will ultimately require the integration of multiple silos of data, and the seamless integration of any number of tools, technologies, and applications. Integration is no small feat when it comes to health technology, but in 2018, it is not the technical limitations that are stopping us. Here at BaseHealth, our forte is identifying at-risk patients before they reach critical junctures in their healthcare journey. Imagine how powerful that would be if it were seamlessly tied to automated care plans, remote monitoring technologies, patient education materials, primary care, and more. That’s the type of vision we’re working on here at BaseHealth.

It’s 2018 and we can finally email (some of) our doctors, but there’s still a fax machine in most back offices. Are you going to dream about AI diagnoses and Watson-eque hype, or are you going to dig in on practicing good medicine and connecting the valuable pieces we already have? Resolve to do more.

Learn more at HIMSS18. Visit BaseHealth in the Solutions Lab Pavilion booth number 14015, or hear us speak on Thursday, March 8th at 11:30AM in the Solutions Lab Pavilion.