Looking back at 2014

December 23, 2014
by Philip F. Jacobus, CEO
For those of us in health care, 2014 has been an interesting year with lots of twists and turns. It looks as though 2015 will be the same way. There were some stories that really caught the attention of health care professionals and some stories that will undoubtedly be big next year. That said, here is a look back at the big stories of the year (next week I will give my thoughts on the big stories to come in 2015).

Tomosynthesis seems to be on everyone's minds lately and we covered it extensively throughout the year. I wonder what the new year will bring. Will the technology grow as expected? Will the costs come down and will reimbursement come up? How will it compare in emerging studies versus conventional mammography? These are all questions I intend to get answers to in the new year.

Consolidation has really ramped up. I have seen a lot of private imaging centers purchased in the last year. We have even seen some insurance companies buying medical facilities and we've seen medical facilities establish themselves as payors will we see more of that?

Therapeutic/focused ultrasound has new studies being released every time I turn around. The technology shows a lot of promise that may impact a lot of areas of care.

Dose reduction has been long-reported and there is still a lot going on there. Dose reduction and dose monitoring were front-and-center for diagnostic imaging. The big questions I ponder are how many machines will be replaced and will there be some way of dealing with legacy machines?

CT lung cancer screening was another important topic. The biggest news was announced just last month when CMS approved Medicare coverage of CT lung cancer screening.

The Affordable Care Act dominated the news this year. Remember that there were problems with the web interface early on, but the second time around the process improved, although many states did not embrace the ACA.

Congress also invested a lot of time and money in trying to repeal the act. In the end, it seemed to hold its own. However, there is a good chance in 2015 that Congress will try to repeal it once again.

EHR implementation problems will undoubtedly continue to crop up and we will continue to keep an eye on them. Nothing has gone as expected and it has not saved the money it was projected to save. EHR may be more trouble than it is worth and unless things change, it will just get even worse.

HAI and re-admittance will also continue to trouble some hospitals. It was a story this year, but it will be a bigger story in years to come as we move from the carrot to the stick approach to get hospitals to decrease the instances of either event.

So, that was my look back at some of the big stories of the year. Come back next week to see what my predictions are for the big stories of 2015 and feel free to share your own predictions.

Happy Holidays!