Many in the healthcare industry probably already know about the June 28 Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. They have probably begun thinking about how the legislation will affect their practice or hospital financially and logistically. But the impact of the ACA on their IT systems and solutions should also be important to them. People in the healthcare industry may wonder: Will the Supreme Court decision affect the IT infrastructure of the average practitioner? And how will the ACA affect healthcare IT overall?
An InformationWeek analysis of the decision points out that the ACA applies mostly to large hospitals which, in the past, have been responsible for a high percentage of the healthcare system’s inefficiency, waste, and poor coordination. Market forces would have coerced healthcare organizations into instituting many of the stipulations of the ACA, anyway: the article quotes one healthcare technology expert as saying, “Even if the Supreme Court had invalidated the whole ACA, there would still be enormous pressure on the provider sector. This wouldn’t have changed anything.” In any case, the InformationWeek article provides a list of ACA provisions that affect healthcare IT at all levels. These provisions include: a more efficient and organization payment system (bundled payments), quality management, rules management, value-based purchasing, and state health insurance exchanges.
In general, the Supreme Court decision on the ACA doesn’t so much change the IT requirements of the average practitioner as reinforce the trend towards more efficient and technologically-advanced healthcare. A report released on July 2 projected that the value of healthcare cloud computing will grow 20% by 2017 to a $5.4 million market. Cloud technology will allow healthcare companies to increase the performance of their IT infrastructure while lowering their costs. This analysis of the Supreme Court decision also points out that the healthcare industry can no longer lag behind our otherwise increasingly technology-driven world. The crisis status of the US healthcare system (already consuming 20% of the GDP and with an increasingly aging population) combined with the technological skills and expectations of younger doctors and patients (“The digital natives, people under 30 who have grown up on Xbox, Facebook and text messaging, are the doctors, nurses and technicians entering the healthcare workforce today; they are the patients who are making decisions on their treatment today”) make the advancement of healthcare IT inevitable. This technology evangelist on Forbes.com paints the picture of the healthcare system of the future:
“In our near future anyone will be able to link information about what they’ve been doing, eating, etc., and marry it with a rich stream of real-time physiologically-specific data about what’s going in their body, wherever they are, linked wirelessly to the Cloud. In the Cloud the entire canon of medical literature and research can be instantly accessed to diagnose and provide advice specifically relevant to you, your body, now… The same kinds of tools show up in the hospital, in operating rooms, clinics and ambulances. It empowers citizens to make decisions, and helps physicians and hospital staff see or make rapid and early diagnostics.”
To comply with the newly-affirmed Affordable Care Act and to keep up with the increasingly technology-driven healthcare industry, independent practitioners and healthcare organizations need a flexible, powerful, and reliable IT hosting provider. Specifically, they need a hosting provider that can support the latest and most advanced healthcare IT solutions while possessing the security and stability to comply with industry regulations such as HIPAA, HITECH, and the ACA. onthenetOffice has been providing hosted EHRs and EMRs, virtual desktops, and cloud-based infrastructures to independent practitioners and healthcare SMBs for over a decade. Our 4-D data security protections will ensure the safety and privacy of your patients’ data. Our SMX Speed Technology and 100% Uptime Guarantee will provide you with constant and quick access to all your hosted systems and records. And our knowledgeable and dedicated technicians will be able to assist you 24x7x365 with problems of any severity—whether you have an IT issue with the healthcare equivalent of the common cold or a chronic illness.