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    How will health IT trends evolve in 2017?

     

    The cloud proved to be as popular as predicted, with cloud adoption accelerating throughout 2016. After getting comfortable with the cloud, many adoptees searched for ways to improve analytics and patient empowerment tools and test development environments. If anything, enthusiasm for the cloud was even greater than expected.

     

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    However, even the experts failed to forecast how popular a hybrid IT configuration would prove to be in 2016. While many providers depend on the cloud for only part of their infrastructure, others learned how to leverage the value of multiple cloud providers based on their projects’ tailored requirements.

    The depth and breadth of cloud adoption in health IT will continue to accelerate in 2017. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, healthcare providers spent an estimated $3.73 billion on cloud services last year, and that figure is expected to grow to $9.5 billion annually by 2020. As administrators continue to strive for agility, stability, security and affordability, the cloud will be the platform of choice. Moreover, hybrid IT models will emerge as critical enablers, allowing providers to execute on key patient engagement and analytics initiatives while ensuring continuity of mission-critical applications.

    The health IT trends of last year will continue to play a prominent role in 2017. But on top of existing priorities, cost containment will be a key focus as compensation policies evolve and as more pressure is placed on shifting from Capex (making costly, long-term investments) to Opex (relying on service providers in more of a pay-as-you-go model).

    What’s positive is that continuing to embrace the trends of 2016 will lead to greater cost efficiencies. But to support existing IT infrastructure while simultaneously fostering innovation and responding to an ever-evolving healthcare landscape, these trends will need to be adapted for 2017 and beyond. In the upcoming year, one thing is certain: Change, once again, remains a constant in health IT.

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

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