Health care predictions 2018: Ten trends to watch in imaging IT

Health care predictions 2018: Ten trends to watch in imaging IT

December 22, 2017
Health IT
By Morris Panner, CEO of Ambra Health

The upcoming year will bring an advanced pace to the digital transformation of the health care industry. Changing consumer preferences, provider consolidation, and tech titans like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft moving into the space will be major market forces fundamentally changing the way patient care is managed and delivered.

While the regulatory uncertainty for payers, providers, and pharmaceuticals remains in 2018, value-based care will continue to be a top priority. Will 2018 be the year where we're diagnosed by a virtual AI doctor from our smartphones? Probably not, but here are ten trends we expect to see unfold in the year ahead.

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Open referral networks become increasingly important to health system growth

Medical imaging is more spread out than ever before across a geographically distributed and diverse referral and patient community. According to a recent survey by Ambra Health of over 1,000 health care consumers, referrals are still the primary way patients find a new physician. This means an enhanced emphasis on image ordering efficiency, turnaround time, quality of reads, and most importantly, referring provider satisfaction as imaging needs to move efficiently across a patient's extended circle of care.

This landscape will drive increased interoperability across providers, and open referral networks will emerge as competitive differentiators for regional centers of excellence, where imaging can flow seamlessly with the patient as they transfer from primary care to community hospital to specialty center and back again. Why shouldn't moving imaging across health care providers work like the ATM network of banks today?

The "big four" to disrupt the health care industry

Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft continue their advance on the health care industry in various ways, from venture funding, research, infrastructure, to applications, and practitioners are taking note, including Jefferson Radiology CTO Mike Quinn, who highlighted the emergence of the "big four" in health care as a trend to watch in 2018.

The sheer scale of these businesses means the impact of new products and services will be widespread and adopted at an unprecedented speed for the industry. The big four seem to have their eye on one singular aspect of the health care industry that will serve as the lynchpin for future innovation: data. The race is on to see which business will dominate health data storage, including imaging data. For the first time, Google attended the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference and announced a number of collaborations with medical imaging providers including Ambra Health.

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