Forrester wrote a report detailing what they see in the year ahead for healthcare. In past years, the focus in the industry has often been on cost containment while improving outcomes. This year, customer experience takes top billing.

Prediction #1: HCOs will abandon traditional feedback methods for CX measurement frameworks.

This will be the year healthcare providers emulate their peers in other industries by rethinking the way they approach measuring and monitoring the customer experience (CX).

This is an interesting prediction when you stop to think about it. As we mentioned already, the focus in the past has largely been on outcomes: the result of the treatment. (Often evaluated against the cost of care.) A refocusing on CX frameworks suggests that healthcare providers are going to re-prioritize the patient experience.

Also read: Latency Takes Center Stage in Healthcare Cloud Discussion

The second prediction supports that conclusion:

Prediction #2: Investments in virtual care will outpace those in traditional healthcare locations.

The traditional and time-consuming process of “going to the doctor” is rapidly being superseded by virtual care options, which can be far more convenient. In this case, healthcare providers are catching up with their patients. According to Forrester, 74% of US adults have either used or are interested in using at least one remote health support service.

There will be a bit of a challenge for healthcare providers to contend with:

Prediction #3: Data fatigue will set in as firms search for “signals in the noise.”

The quantity of data healthcare providers have at their fingertips is increasing exponentially. Virtual care is only going to accelerate that. Forrester predicts an increased focus on fast healthcare interoperability resources (FHIR), which will improve the exchange of electronic health information between applications. This will give providers a better view of the whole patient while providing care.

Side note: We predict a continued focus on healthcare IT security as much of this data will fall under HIPAA/HITECH protection. Read: Turn Compliance into a Competitive Advantage in 2019.

Prediction #4 should help make sense of all this data:

Prediction #4: AI will affect two out of three US patients — and most patients won’t even know.

AI (artificial intelligence) often brings to mind the image of a patient interfacing with an automaton – or at least an impersonal online chatbot. The human factor is still incredibly important to the quality of care and the patient’s experience; however, AI can make sense of the data available faster than any human. Providers will be able to use that analysis to inform their course of treatment recommendations.

Finally, Forrester makes one last prediction:

Prediction #5: Blockchain will have no material impact on healthcare, but pilot projects will continue.

Sorry, blockchain fans. Looks like you’ll have to wait another year before you get your turn. But if you can figure out a way to tie your pilot project back to the customer, it might speed things up a bit.

Read More on the 2019 Predictions in Healthcare IT

You can download the complete Forrester report here: Predictions 2019: Healthcare.

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