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In 2018, the Healthcare IT industry saw a great deal of advancement and disruption. While 2017 set a record for the amount of money spent on mergers and acquisitions, 2018 beat that record by an amazing amount. Large technology players such as Apple and Amazon jumped in feet first to the deep end to lead advancements in technology and at the same time, have become disruptors. In this 2018 Healthcare IT Year in Review, we discuss four of the biggest stories of 2018.

  1. Amazon in Healthcare: Amazon announced its presence in the healthcare industry with several large announcements in 2018. In January, they announced a new healthcare company in partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase. There are reports that Amazon built a team within the Alexa division to explore ways to make the virtual assistant more useful in healthcare. Finally, in June, it was announced that Amazon acquired online pharmacy startup, Pillpack. In November of this year, Amazon announced they were getting into healthcare data analytics. 2019 is going to be an exciting year when it comes to Amazon’s position in healthcare.
  2. Apple Advancements: The computer and iPhone maker announced a beta for Apple Health and then two months later released the feature to the public. In October, we published a blog post about Apple in Healthcare and the impact that they were making. As of October, there are over 60 health systems, and more than 300 hospitals involved with Apple Health Records and the list continues to expand. Apple didn’t stop with Apple Health and later in the year announced the Series 4 Apple Watch 4 with its FDA cleared EKG functionality. With the release of WatchOS 5.1.2 in December, Apple Watch users now can be alerted to A-fib (Atrial fibrillation). We expect Apple to continue to make advancements with their products in healthcare and to keep being an innovator and a disruptor.
  3. The VA and Cerner: In May, the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded Cerner a 10-year, $10 billion contract to overhaul the agency’s legacy EHR system. The first go-live is scheduled for 2020. Just before the agreement was announced, a scathing Department of Defense report called its Cerner EHR “neither operationally effective nor operationally suitable.” A report that Cerner President Zane Burke referred to as “fake news.” What happens leading up to 2020 is not yet known, but it will be an interesting 2019.
  4. Data Breaches: 2018 has seen record-setting pace for mergers and acquisitions, but there is something that is setting records as well, and this one is not as positive. Data Breaches. As of November 30, 2018, there have been 277 data breaches, affecting 11,752,000 people. Although RISK WILL NEVER BE ZERO, there are ways to help improve your odds of avoiding a security breach. Strengthening your information security posture from top to bottom is the first step and is imperative for protecting your organization as a whole from malicious attacks.

As new advancements in technology come to fruition, we expect 2019 to bring a variety of interesting news stories and new technologies. As we wrote back in November, is healthcare ready for 5G? What new payment models will come to light? Will the pace of mergers and acquisitions continue? Only time will tell us how 2019 plays out, but if 2018 was any indicator, it should be an exciting and compelling year.

Stay Tuned!

Be sure to continue to visit the Optimum Healthcare IT blog in 2019 for more industry insights, best practices, things to avoid, and more. Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season and a Happy New Year. See you in 2019!

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