The start of a new year – and a new decade – has many of us planning for the months and years ahead. January is a popular time to make health care goals for ourselves. The number of weight loss and gym ads you’ll see just by watching a half-hour of TV proves that.

But, what about health care organizations? What are hospitals planning for, investing in and watching for 2020 and beyond? We asked you – our clients – to take a quick survey to tell us what’s on your radar for the coming year and decade.

Broad industry concerns

A few of the questions we asked garnered similar responses. For example, “Which piece of technology do you think will have the greatest impact on patient satisfaction in the coming year?”

Hands down, the most common responses on patient experience centered on access – as in a patient’s access to their own health information, the use of patient portals, as well as personal health records.

But other responses had less uniformity. When we asked about the healthcare issues your hospital would follow most closely in the coming year, the answers varied, with the most common answers falling in these buckets:

  • Wait times in the Emergency Department
  • Medical devices and the Internet of Things
  • Process automation
  • Secure texting

Rules and regulations

One theme that showed up in a few questions was concern about regulation. We weren’t too surprised to learn that hospitals are watching new CMS regulations and the financial ramifications these could have on your organization.

But you also expressed hope that streamlined processes might make reporting for federal mandates easier. For example, with programs such as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS, which encourages the use of health data and better outcomes by tying reimbursements to quality standards.

When it came to the IT Department, many of you said you’re looking at managed services options so you could off load routine tasks and drive more value from your full-time IT staff. This could be an important strategy knowing the healthcare industry is facing an IT skills gap. You also told us that additional investment in security was a focus, which is likely to be expected with the healthcare industry having the most personal data breaches.

EHR as the clear winner

If there was a clear hero in our survey, it was the electronic health record. It was the most popular answer when we asked about optimism, investment and promise.

You said you’re optimistic about healthcare in 2020 because of advancements in the EHR, as well as the growth of interoperability and APIs. It’s the place the majority of you said you planned to invest in 2020, whether through upgrades or a new system entirely. Finally, it was also the tool that you said holds the most promise for the future of the industry.

RELATED: Learn how Access can do a seamless EHR integration with  athenahealthCernerEpic and MEDITECH.

Beyond 2020

When we turned your attention to beyond 2020, you told us that wearables are a potential game-changer. These devices can automatically share patient information with care teams to ensure chronic conditions are better managed. Knowing chronic conditions cost the U.S. healthcare system a whopping $1.1 trillion in 2016 – or six percent of the country’s GDP – wearables could be a force in reducing costs.

The cloud is also on your radar for the long-term. Specifically, the flexibility the technology offers that no longer bounds clinicians to locations or certain hours in order to access documentation. Finally, you’re interested in what artificial intelligence holds for the future of healthcare – and just how long it will take us to get there.

Whether you’re thinking about your organization’s goals for the quarter or considering the entire decade, Access can help your hospital achieve its short- and long-term electronic forms goals. Contact us to learn more.


Cody Strate

Written by Cody Strate

For more than 10 years, Cody has helped healthcare organizations worldwide eliminate the costs and risks of paper through e-forms and e-signature solutions. In addition to helping others achieve their paperless goals, Cody finds time to put his biochemistry degree to work in the kitchen testing out new recipes on his unsuspecting family.