Will a standard U.S. healthcare ID happen, and if so, how? What are the risks to healthcare leaders if it doesn't happen soon? We have President Bill Clinton to thank for signing a law that prohibits establishment of a national healthcare ID system, but we'll either need to amend that or use some technological tricks to achieve the effect of an ID system without violating the existing law. Patients themselves may have to assert their digital identities. For more on this concept, check out the Personal Data Ecosystem Consortium, an industry effort that brings together the best thinking over the past 20 years about how to get identity management right. And if we're lucky, it won't take a Department of Homeland Security to do it.
6. A systematic fix for alert fatigue. Devices bombard clinicians and executives with alerts, for everything from life-threatening errors to suggestions from purchasing on how to save money. Clinicians say enough! But quality mavens insist on many of the alerts. IT systems can be redesigned around human factors, but a systems approach is also needed. In the technology world, the network management folks unified all alerts starting in 1988 with the Simple Network Management Protocol, or SNMP for short. SNMP and its successors are why computer networks today are manageable even though hardware still fails. Healthcare IT needs its own SNMP. Maybe this year it will get it.
7. Patient adherence for fun and profit. Technology is poised to make sure that patients take their meds as directed, get exercise, lose weight, and report changes in their conditions promptly. Lives will be saved. Accountable care won't work without it. And healthcare is starting to deliver it. More patients will see savings on their health insurance premiums if they comply with these guidelines. Clever software developers may deliver bonus secret levels of Angry Birds to successful weight-loss patients, which could be even more motivating to some than cash.