Social media, HIEs, the recession will impact health IT in 2012

While HIMSS12 isn't exactly around the corner, it's not too early to start anticipating some of the key trends that will emerge at the 2012 Vegas-bound conference, which takes place Feb. 20-24.

Social media, and its impact on hospitals and providers, certainly will play a prominent role, given HIMSS' recent announcement that Twitter co-founder Biz Stone will be a keynote speaker. Already, we're seeing that hospital marketing, patient satisfaction and patient engagement are intricately linked to social media. 

YouGov Healthcare released a report in June which identified a positive correlation between a hospital's online presence and a consumer's selection of that hospital for treatment. "It gives an indication of what role social media will play within the hospital industry," YouGov Healthcare Managing Director Jane Donohue told FierceHealthcare in an interview last month.

"Hospital social media will become a very powerful social media tool," she said. But she also acknowledged that it's "still in its infancy." 

Social media aside, HIMSS Analytics recently released its own report on other healthcare IT trends to follow, according to Government Health IT. Among the identified trends:

  • Health information exchanges will be a "good barometer" for the success of various delivery models like accountable care organizations, the report states, adding that it will be "interesting" to see which public HIEs remain successful after federal dollars dry up.
  • Legislative actions, specifically with regard to Meaningful Use and the healthcare reform law, will cause ripple effects. Funding will be "crucial" to electronic health record implementation for hospitals, the report states.
  • The recession will continue to impact healthcare IT spending, but exactly how remains a big unknown. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations will have to adjust their heath IT budgets amid the ongoing financial roller coaster as it barrels forward. 

What trends and priorities do you see on the horizon for 2012? - Dan