A stethoscope on a passport

DHIS19: Global HIT Trends

For several years, KLAS has done symposiums focused on bringing leading healthcare providers and vendors together with investment companies with the aim of focusing development and innovation on the areas most in need within healthcare. At the request of several firms, we decided to host a similar event in Europe to look at investment trends and barriers to their adoption outside the US. As a lead-up to the event, we reached out to many decision-makers to see what problems they are trying to solve; this served as the foundation for topics of discussion at the symposium.

Hot Investment Areas 

Alongside mainstays such as BI/AI, the topic garnering most interest in the pre-symposium questionnaire was patient engagement. Overall, the level of interest was somewhat surprising as patient engagement was relatively off the radar in 2017 and early 2018. Today, about a quarter of respondents across all global regions say it is a focus of investment moving forward. However, this shouldn’t be so surprising; patient engagement’s increase in energy is tied to a shifting paradigm in global healthcare—involving patients in their care outside the walls of the hospital.

As a follow-up, part of the goal for the symposium was to define what forms of patient engagement are of most interest. From providing patients their health information via a PHR in Netherlands or a portal in Saudi Arabia to providing care in the community via telehealth in Scandinavia, patient engagement has taken on numerous forms. It was interesting to hear how it differs around the world. For example, US organizations are investing in patient experience solutions, but no organizations mentioned this outside the US. To see the full breakdown on patient engagement and KLAS’ definitions, see the white paper from the summit.

Another surprise area for investment is system optimization. KLAS started the Arch Collaborative initiative to address that issue, but the topic is picking up steam faster than expected outside the US. Almost half of the people surveyed are going through major optimizations or change management projects (like an EMR deployment). We’re excited to help make the world a smaller place by bringing organizations together to help them get the most out of their systems.

Barriers to Adoption

Policies and regulations are two challenges that are impeding progress. Who owns the data? How can we share the data? Most people agree that privacy is a good thing, but although laws like the GDPR are helpful, they can also create more challenges and gray areas regarding how to share data.

Some providers are getting their lawyers involved because they have so many concerns. And some organizations don't want to stick their necks out to share even if doing so is best for their patients. Understandably, these organizations don't want to get sued or break the law. Many things need to be defined, such as who owns the data, how to share it, and how to store it.

Interoperability also has challenges. Standards are unclear but are getting better; they can vary between countries, regions, and suppliers. After what is legal has been defined, semantic interoperability needs to be achieved. One universal principle for any policies or regulations tied to interoperability or other healthcare reform is that opt-out programs are superior to opt-in programs. Using an opt-out option can save an organization years of wasted effort.

The white paper from the summit is free and requires no login to access. Please feel free to spread the word and share it with your friends and colleagues. KLAS’ goal with the symposium is to help inform decision-makers and policy makers so that they can spur innovation in healthcare. KLAS will be holding another symposium in May 2020 and will give an update then. 




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