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    How will health IT trends evolve in 2017?


    2. Data centers will embrace optimized connectivity solutions

    As healthcare becomes increasingly reliant upon IT, it’s necessary to adopt a more centralized and standardized approach; major new investments in the operational, administrative, and care sides of the organization were expected throughout 2016. The goals were to leverage the collective power of IT while eliminating the consequences of data silos and inconsistent application performance. By ensuring the right platforms were in place for future rollouts, organizations could empower initiatives combining data with real-time analytics and physician support tools.


    Related: What will a malware breach cost a physician practice?


    If anything, this prediction was underestimated. Huge sums were committed to centralizing, standardizing and scaling IT infrastructures. When St. Joseph Health and Providence Health and Services merged in 2016, for example, tripling capacity while the budget stagnated, we saw grand-scale efforts to create a distributed yet centrally managed and scaled IT infrastructure. Projects such as this will likely become test cases for the kinds of data center optimization efforts all provider organizations will soon undergo.

    In 2016, many organizations mistakenly assumed that integration was the only issue, thinking that if they brought everything under one umbrella, all of the benefits would immediately manifest. However, without new data management tools in place, advanced analytics capabilities were virtually impossible, prompting some to invest in shadow IT deployments to jump-start their analytics engines.

    An expanded focus on care outcomes—specifically, how tools, artificial intelligence and analytics can support better decisions and proactively alert clinicians to at-risk patients once database management initiatives have been executed—makes an integrated approach to health IT even more important in 2017.

    3. Cloud adoption will take off

    The evolving imperatives of health IT dovetailed nicely with the properties of cloud computing in 2016. To achieve cost efficiencies, develop more robust business continuity and disaster recovery solutions, and keep pace with next-generation platforms that would enable greater scalability and agility, healthcare organizations were expected to migrate to the cloud en masse.

    Next: Greater cost efficiencies

    Karin Ratchinsky
    Karin Ratchinsky is the director of healthcare vertical strategy at Level 3 Communications.


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