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Predictive analytics scientists anticipate major EHR improvements, a rise in wearable device use and innovations in telemedicine in 2015. These trends mirror the transparency of health care providers, the rising popularity of home care and an increasingly health-conscious population. Below are the top 5 anticipated things we would like to see in telemedicine in 2015.

Major efforts to enhance EHRs

A recent study by the National Partnership for Woman & Families conducted in 2014 found that more than 4 in 5 patients with online access to their health records (about 86%) made use of their online records at least once a year while more than half, roughly 55% used those 3 or more times a year. The healthcare industry needs to make necessary efforts to enhance EHR proficiency through the support of good analytics in order to empower healthcare providers with extensive, actionable data. As a result, healthcare organizations have to intensify their efforts to ensure EHRs are facilitating and not hindering the workflow and continuing EHR growth to cater to patient and provider needs.

Wearable health devices to empower patients

The market for mobile health monitoring gadgets witnessed explosive growth in the past year. With Apple making a foray into this domain, we can expect more apps and devices to be introduced to consumers in 2015. However, the way in which the government regulates these devices may depend on how they are marketed. For instance, a glucometer could be regulated as a medical device if it is marketed for monitoring diabetes yet the same could be unregulated if it is intended to track blood sugar levels for better nutrition.

EHR interoperability

Though all EHRs will still not be able to seamlessly communicate in 2015, the core infrastructure for improved data liquidity will be in place. EHR vendors are increasingly using the data standards of the CCDA and its predecessor CCD. Moreover, meaningful use Stage 2 regulations specify that patients can receive a digital summary of own records on demand. These positive steps are expected to bring us closer to the promise of data interoperability.

EHR switching accelerates

Many practices had selected an EHR system tempted by the assurance of meaningful use incentives but subsequently discovered that the solution was not user-friendly and slowed them down. Despite the hindrance of switching systems, in 2015 we can expect to witness a mass conversion of solutions towards EHR which fulfils providers’ requirements and expectations effectively.

Virtual appointments

It is anticipated that from this year onwards, reimbursements will drive the “virtual” appointment and health plans will reimburse clinicians for online patient visits. Healthcare providers and patients will connect over virtual platforms for scheduling, writing prescriptions, review of test results, etc. More and more insurers are expected to follow suit as technological developments continue to claim their place in the physician’s office.