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The phrase "inflection point" is being bandied about quite a bit these days in U.S. healthcare--and for good reason. At a time of unprecedented change, one thing is becoming very clear: things are tipping now, as never before.

Disruptors are coming into the healthcare system both from both the business and the technology worlds, and posing potential threats to traditional healthcare providers. The planned CVS-Aetna merger, the Amazon/Berkshire Hathaway/JP Morgan Chase initiative, and the moves by Google/Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as others--are destabilizing any plans that the senior executives of provider organizations might have made for things to stay as they had been in the healthcare system. Indeed, the U.S. healthcare landscape is shifting more dramatically than ever before, as the purchasers and payers of healthcare push providers further into risk-based contracting, and physician group leaders try to figure out where their future might lie, in a rapidly consolidating market (on both the payer and provider sides). In that emerging landscape, interoperability, data analytics, patient-generated data, and social determinants of health data, all become not just interesting, but essential, to the success of providers going forward. And all of those phenomena will of course require leadership on the part of healthcare IT leaders, in order for patient care organizations to survive and thrive in the new healthcare.

Do all of these developments speak to the need for new foundational technological infrastructures to support the new healthcare? Absolutely. And will providers need some kind of new app ecosystem? Yes, that's true as well.

And all of these topics, and more, are covered in this package of stories, our annual Top Ten Tech Trends, which we share with you, our readers, every year, as we gauge the U.S. healthcare system's forward evolution into the future. This year, it's clear that things are moving forward in important, concrete ways, even as the challenges to provider organizations continue to mount.

Please enjoy this package of articles. We hope it is helpful to you as healthcare accelerates into the future.

--The Editors of Healthcare Informatics

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Publication:Healthcare Informatics
Article Type:Cover story
Date:Sep 1, 2018
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