The first quarter (Q1) of 2017 marked a new record for capital investment in health-related IT. While venture capital investment reached $2.4 in Q1, investments in the first half of the year reached $4 billion, compared to $3 billion from the same period last year. Many are beginning to speculate what this investment will mean for the general public in the near future. 

In 2009, Congress passed a bill providing $27 billion in incentive payments to hospitals and health professionals to encourage them to adopt and use electronic health records. It wasn’t until a year later that the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation began testing new payment and care delivery models that required the use of IT to coordinate care.  

In a recent study by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), spending on health-related IT is way higher in the private sector than the public. Considering that over 10% of the USA’s population is left uninsured, that leaves them with no choice but technologically stunted treatment.

In a journal by Glen Stream and Steven Waldren M.D, they discussed the current challenges.

“Despite the potential, health IT has yet to deliver fully on its promise, falling short of supporting a health care system in a way that is sustainable and that can play a central role in improving the health of the U.S. population,” reads the journal.

Their later elaborated, 10-year vision for the health IT sector, lays out a road map for how the industry should advance.

In 3 years…

Health care technology should allow every person to have their own health records, as well as facilitate support for healthy behaviors, like nutrition regimes and exercise.

In 5 years…

Technology should be able to provide predictive information, providing proactivity towards possible future mental illnesses through analyzing health indicators.

In 7 years…

Health IT should be able to meet demands of patients with lack of healthcare due to their socioeconomic status.

In 10 years…

Health IT should be fully capable of automating family health care as now prescribed by physicians.

The complex landscape of the health care industry means that implementing these changes must be done carefully, while at the same time, quickly. The technology advancments necearry to achieve real change are being made by many big tech companies such as Apple, and companies specialized in the health care industry such as Alpharidge, and Kaiser Permanente.

The main focus of current health IT is dubbed “triple aim”- better health, better quality and better value.

“What’s needed is what the coalition calls a ‘principled redesign’ of health IT that would embrace new types of information and new kinds of technology to enhance the ability of primary care doctors and their teams—the professionals best-situated to achieve the Triple Aim goals—to improve healthcare and the health of patients,” reported Stream and Waldren. Hopefully, with well distributed funding and innovations, Health IT will achieve the triple aim, and we can look forward to healthier days to come.