A new year will undoubtedly bring new and exciting trends to our continuously evolving healthcare industry. And as I reflect on 2018 and look forward to the coming year, I believe we can all agree that digital transformation was, and will continue to be, at the forefront of trending healthcare topics.

Digital transformation is a complicated process, and a key challenge in 2019 will be to continue to address our industry’s basic resistance to change. This was the precise reason why our 5th Annual Healthcare Summit was dedicated to gathering thought leaders, experts and digital transformation groundbreakers to discuss the future of digital transformation next year and beyond.

We continue to witness an influx of mobile apps ranging from enhancing clinical communication between providers and patients to improving the management of hospital workflows; 2018 was no exception. These apps enable providers to effectively streamline communication among patients, providers and their caregivers and allow for 24/7 management of a patient’s condition along with the ability to personalize their healthcare.

However, as we transition into 2019, simply downloading an app in an attempt to help consumers utilize healthcare is simply a non-starter.  There is too much noise for independent players to act alone, even with the most noble intentions. We need to ask ourselves, ‘What does real consumer engagement and value really look like moving forward?’ The significant changes that will be occurring in the coming year are what I like to refer to as ‘building bridges’ among numerous systems to help improve the consumer experience. This includes systems across the entire continuum of consumer engagement and not just limited to payers or providers. Digital transformation has now evolved to where we can actually unlock systems to drive value and remove data dead ends to ultimately provide a value-added consumer experience.

Who would have thought five years ago that mega-tech companies Amazon and Apple would now be market-ready leaders in the healthcare industry? Both companies are prime examples of what I like to refer to as ‘legacy leaders.’  ‘Legacy’ in that they have been part of our daily lives for more than 15+ years and lead in various areas of tech from devices to platforms.  Amazon recently announced that it is not only selling medical supplies and durable medical equipment, but is also positioned to become a leader in unlocking healthcare information for consumers. In addition, tech conglomerate Apple is offering onsite or nearby high-quality medical care for employees at many larger organizations.

These legacy leaders now have us looking at healthcare with an entirely different perspective, as consumers can access healthcare data and information in ways never seen before. And while I don’t see an immediate change in traditional fee-for-service care, the trend toward much more value-based patient care models will continue to rise with these players demanding it, essentially ‘unlocking value’ for healthcare consumers.

And evolving themes of advancing processes such as robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning (ML) will make meaningful strides in our industry this year. RPA is now enabling organizations to make significant progress in automating tasks, streamlining processes and increasing employee productivity. Just think of the impact it can make on RCM or Care Management Systems. In comparison, an ML use case will continue to aid physicians in not only planning and providing higher-quality patient care, but will also help achieve better outcomes, lower costs of care and increased patient satisfaction.

What does this ultimately mean for 2019? The tech platforms for patient care must allow data liquidity, unlocking patient care across the ecosystem. Better data means better process, which means better care delivered. This is great news for all of us.  

At emids, we’re celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2019.  Improving patient care, lowering the costs of care and improving the experience of care are our hallmark goals.  Data liquidity and digital transformation unlock this for all of us. Because of our unique position in the industry, we know where the opportunities are and will strive daily to unlock and enrich the industry to digitally transform.  We consider ourselves bridge builders given our industry footprint and insights across all healthcare segments. We see an opportunity democratizing systems and data, while improving success results for these organizations be it clinically, financially or administratively.

Consider us your compass carrier on your 2019 journey. Companies working with us will have significantly more opportunity for success because of our distinctive insight. As we transition into the 2019 healthcare arena with excitement and anticipation, the two primary focuses will be on building bridges and unlocking value. And I’m pleased to say that emids’ unique dimensional view and perspective in the industry has us positioned to be both an innovative and digital leader. Onward and upward.

As president, Strategic Business, Michael Hollis oversees emids’ marketing and sales operations. He is responsible for overall sales effectiveness, business development and client relationships, as well as for articulating the company’s service offerings to prospective clients and industries. Michael is an active member of Nashville’s professional and nonprofit community, serving on several advisory boards and as a committee member of the Nashville Technology Council and the Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care initiative. Be sure to connect with Michael on LinkedIn.