It’s exciting to watch hospitals and health systems continue to move into the digital age and leverage the vast amounts of data at their disposal to drive operational transformation. This kind of data-driven approach helps strip waste and inefficiency out of the healthcare system and creates an environment of excellence where clinical staff and patients both thrive. Here are some of the trending topics we’ve seen over the past month:

2019 will continue to focus on data and technology
Frost & Sullivan healthcare analyst Reenita Das shared her eight predictions for global healthcare in 2019 – and unsurprisingly, data and technology are at the heart of most of her bets for the coming year. Das’ predictions include an increase in healthcare spending tied to value-based models, a growth in artificial intelligence applications in healthcare, more digital health tech catering to out-of-hospital applications, and a shift in analytics focus from big data to meaningful data.
Source: Forbes

The role of the CIO is changing
Industry analyst firm IDC also shared its top 2019 predictions, but theirs focused on the role of the CIO. In the year ahead, IDC forecasts big changes for the role of chief information officer as their organizations’ own needs and strategies evolve. Hospital CIOs, and those in other industries, are “racing to reinvent themselves as the pace of digital transformation becomes exponential.” CIOs who will succeed in this fast-changing environment are the ones willing to rethink and reinvent their own roles within the organization – and able to think predictively about how emerging technologies can be optimally deployed (or, sometimes, cast aside) to help their health system meet strategic imperatives, according to IDC.
Source: Healthcare IT News

Hospital expenses continue to rise
The healthcare industry is already operating with razor-thin margins – and a new report by healthcare consultant firm Navigant spotlighted further area for concern. The Navigant report found that health system operating income is deteriorating as hospital expenses continue to grow. In the three-year analysis of the financial disclosures of 104 prominent health systems that operate almost one-half of US hospitals, Navigant found two-thirds of the organizations saw operating income fall from FY 2015 to FY 2017. Rapidly growing hospital expenses are the primary driver of declining operating margins. In fact, hospital expenses increased 3 percentage points faster than hospital revenue from 2015 to 2017. This data further underscores the need for hospitals to put renewed focus on improving operational management and efficiency to recapture some of these lost dollars.
Source: RevCycle Intelligence

In a healthcare environment characterized by fast change and decreasing profits, it’s clear the role of data in creating healthcare improvements will only increase in the months to come. Hospital IQ is very bullish on what our industry will collectively achieve in 2019 as the spotlight increasingly shines on data as a strategic tool to create positive change.

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