Quality Care

2021 Acceleration: A Brighter, Digitally-Enabled, Future

In 2021, the world is facing a critical demand for the acceleration of health, which can only be addressed by first establishing a proper diagnosis. Members of the HIMSS leadership team have identified some of the common problem areas we share as a global society and a health citizenship, and they have provided recommendations on how best to meet this need for acceleration. Ultimately, the accelerated delivery of solutions in healthcare is vital to realizing the full health potential of every human, everywhere.

Information technology has always been at the center of innovation. It has created a path for the best data to be delivered at the right time to guide accurate and informed decision-making, an approach that is leveraged across industries. However, in healthcare – due in part to a complex array of stakeholders, a web of IT systems, concerns around data privacy and safeguards to protect patient health and safety – innovation has often lagged. That is, until now.

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Charles Alessi

We need to remain optimistic that 2021 will be better than the year that preceded it. Let us make it a memorable year for change and renewal and one where we continue to aspire to the HIMSS vision, which is to realize the full health potential of every human, everywhere.
– Dr. Charles Alessi, Chief Clinical Officer

We start 2021 with hope and well-founded optimism. Despite the ravages of the pandemic, we look forward to regaining some mobility and communication with colleagues. As social beings, most of us have missed personal interactions and contact, and this is all very welcome. We have lots to look forward to in 2021, and this is a taster of what I anticipate we will see. 

Telehealth will continue to mature in terms of its rate of adoption and in its range of implementation. This year has offered a window on the whole new world of digital transformation, and for many clinicians it has served as a ‘taster” of things to come.

Workforce will continue to be valued, and we will see many more systemic attempts to ensure we nurture and value staff and manage burnout better. 

There will be more emphasis on managing unwarranted variation in healthcare delivery. In many respects, we will be continuing the journey started with the triple aim in 2006. There will also be more emphasis on driving interoperability, managing taxonomy better and developing more mature clinical governance systems. All these are prerequisites to a modern, efficient health and care system.

The process of personalization and customization of care around empowered individuals will continue as we start to adopt more precise approaches, as will the debates around the use of data and issues to do with consent. Perhaps we will also see instances where dynamic consent approaches are successfully deployed more often.

There will be a renaissance in the appreciation of the importance of techniques such as behavioral change, and these skills will become more mainstream in clinical practice.

No doubt, some of the technologies we are already starting to use will “come of age” – their additive effects on the consultation could very well be transformative. Perhaps 2021 will be the year of voice, or the year where the internet of things, enabled by 5G, becomes a significant area of development. What is certain is there will be change and the rate of change will continue to accelerate.

Finally, we need to remember that, as alluded to previously, complex adaptive systems often have unexpected consequences, and it would be surprising if 2021 is not remembered for some as yet unexpected new development.

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