Cloud-based EHR, Data Sharing and Telehealth: Azalea Health Releases 2021 Predictions

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The pandemic accelerates shifts in healthcare IT as health systems adapt to new challenges.

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The pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on the healthcare system, leading many providers to reevaluate their IT infrastructure...

Azalea Health, a leading provider of cloud-based patient management and health IT solutions, today announced their predictions for healthcare IT in 2021. Although some trends were already underway, the pandemic has been a catalyst for change as healthcare providers adapt to the new reality.

“The pandemic has put unprecedented pressure on the healthcare system, leading many providers to reevaluate their IT infrastructure,” said Baha Zeidan, CEO of Azalea Health. “We saw it first with the rapid adoption of telehealth, then with the urgent need for better data sharing to help providers coordinate their Covid-19 response. However, these trends will not end with the pandemic. We’re seeing an enduring transformation of healthcare’s relationship with IT.”

Zeidan predicts five key IT trends will drive change in healthcare in 2021:

Politics accelerate value-based care, and providers turn to data to improve outcomes.
Even if the Supreme Court overrules the ACA’s value-based care incentives, the trajectory towards value-based care is unlikely to change, the only question is how fast it will take over as the dominant reimbursement model. A Joe Biden administration will likely push for more capitation at the agency level, with the pace depending on who controls the Senate following runoff races in Georgia. To succeed under value-based care, providers will look for nimble EHR solutions that enable them to harness the intelligence of their patient data to improve outcomes.

On-premises Health IT infrastructure shifts to the cloud.
The shift to cloud-based EHR platforms will be driven by several factors. First, the financial pressures of the pandemic has led many providers to reevaluate the overhead costs of managing their IT infrastructure on-premises. Additionally, the cloud enables back-room functions to be done remotely, reducing the risk of Covid-19 exposure for staff and patients. Also, with the rise of ransomware, data breaches and other cyberattacks, providers will look to cloud-based EHR platforms to take the burden of security and compliance off their hands. Finally, cloud-based systems will enable providers to access patient data anywhere, enabling telehealth and better care coordination.

Interoperability becomes an essential capability for EHR platforms.
Although the ONC is close to finalizing and implementing its new interoperability standards for EHR vendors, the pandemic has brought into sharp relief the need for greater data sharing to track outbreaks, manage resources and coordinate care between health systems. Providers will look to adopt interoperable EHR systems before the new rules set in to connect to health information exchanges and ensure continuity of care. Another benefit of interoperability is that patients will have greater access to their health data. This will help healthcare to go touch free, replacing clipboards with mobile apps that speed up appointment times, reduce paperwork, and drive efficiency.

Telehealth becomes a permanent staple of healthcare.
The pandemic rapidly lowered the barriers to telehealth out of necessity. But now that everybody has tried it and seen its potential, it's clear that telehealth will outlast the pandemic. Telehealth reimbursements will likely be expanded through 2021, as a hybrid model combining telehealth check-ins and in-person visits becomes the norm. This will save both providers and patients time on their appointments and open up more communication and engagement with patients. There will also be greater recognition of the needs of underserved communities, particularly those with limited access to transportation for whom telehealth will be a new lifeline of care, and those in rural areas where broadband access limits telehealth usage.

EHR adoption grows for behavioral health.
The pandemic has fueled a national mental health crisis, with 40.9% of Americans showing signs of adverse behavioral health conditions. Depression will manifest in higher rates of diabetes, obesity and heart problems as people reduce their physical activity. The connection between behavioral health and physical health will become more clear, and more providers and payers will recognize the importance of addressing behavioral health. EHR adoption, which has long lagged for behavioral health providers, will gain momentum as providers look to coordinate their behavioral health workflows with their physical health workflows.

About Azalea Health:
Azalea Health (Azalea) is changing the way health IT platforms connect community-based healthcare providers and patients across the care continuum. Offering a 100% cloud-based, interoperable solution, Azalea delivers electronic health records, revenue cycle management, and a fully integrated telehealth solution designed for rural, community and urban practices and hospitals, especially those focused on underserved populations. Quick to deploy and intuitive to use, Azalea solutions ensure better care coordination and communication, and the “one patient, one record” approach provides care teams the agility to achieve better outcomes. The Azalea platform also delivers tools and resources to help providers meet Meaningful Use requirements, and informs their strategies to navigate accountable care and alternative payment models.

Azalea Health PR Contact:
Lexi Herosian
lexi@scratchmm.com

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Lexi Herosian