Rapid Growth of HIT Industry

HIT Industry  HIT Industry Continues to Grow

By Michelle Rebecca

In a world where technology continues to penetrate and integrate with our lives on virtually every level, there’s no denying that HIT, or health information technology, is here to stay. If you’re in the healthcare field and you aren’t familiar with at least some type of HIT, we’d like to know exactly where it is that you’re practicing.

HIT includes everything from electronic health records to mobile applications, and the industry is expected to do nothing but expand, and at an impressively rapid rate. Indeed, the North American market is projected to increase in value by nearly $10 billion by the year 2017, as compared to its value from 2012.

What This Means for the Healthcare Industry

If you’re a clinician, healthcare technician, nurse, or even a pharmaceutical rep, this means one thing: You better get used to technology. And not just technology in and of itself, but rapidly changing and evolving technology.

You’re probably already more than familiar with computerized billing systems and the shift toward electronic health records. However, innovative minds are constantly looking for ways that HIT can streamline and generally improve the healthcare experience for both the healthcare providers and the patients.

Clinical decision support systems, picture archive communication systems, radiology information systems, and dozens more HIT-related software and programs are steadily growing, and dozens more still haven’t even been developed yet.

Things are no different on the administrative, non-clinical side of the coin. Changes in healthcare legislation, specifically the Affordable Healthcare Act, have created a need for administrative software that is intelligent, flexible and very different from the paradigm most of us are familiar with.

Systems that allow for virtual doctor’s appointments are on the rise, which could significantly increase the number of patients a clinician could see during a day. These types of practice models can also open the doors for greater doctor-patient communication, providing for a more satisfying relationship.

Adjusting to the Times

Of course, with all of these rapid changes in the way we provide and experience healthcare, there are bound to be certain challenges. Maintaining the appropriate level of professionalism with less formal patient interaction is certainly one of these challenges.

Beyond that, however, is the conundrum of which HIT products to invest in and which to watch. Because there are so many new HIT solutions hitting the market every day, which is essential to the growth of the industry, it will be difficult to determine at first which systems will become the standard and which will fizzle out over time.

Since financial resources are limited, we can’t all invest in brand new, expensive systems that may be obsolete in a few years. Perhaps the best approach here is to thoroughly analyze the needs and level of growth of each practice, and then compare that with the options on the market. If a HIT product has been on the market for a reasonable amount of time, has been experiencing growth, and offers your practice something of value, it could be a good investment decision.

Michelle is a blogger and freelancer with interests in health IT and social media. She’s freelanced for a variety of different companies, including Cleveland Brothers. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.