2020 Healthcare Trends: Be Weary of Buzzwords

Posted by RiAnn Bradshaw on 2/6/20 4:00 AM

Topics: News

Everyone wants to “bend the cost curve” by “breaking down silos”. We are all working towards “personalized medicine” by deploying “predictive analytics” and “big data” using “cloud computing”.

As we start 2020, I thought it would be fun to conduct an informal poll of Health IT leaders, marketing leaders and patient advocates to see if there were any buzzwords that they would like to see retired. Not surprisingly, I got immediate and passionate responses.

Here are the top 10 buzzwords that should be retired in 2020.

Artificial Intelligence

From Nick van Terheyden, MD – Radio Talk Show Host and CEO at Incremental Healthcare

I’m nominating Artificial or more fully Artificial Intelligence for the dustbin of irrelevance. So while the technology often referred to as “Artificial Intelligence” or AI is (currently) produced by human beings, and does not occur naturally it fails miserably to capture the notion of the potential and contribution that *Augmented* intelligence or technology can offer. Artificial implies replacement and while technology and innovation may replace functions or activities it does not and will not (at least for the foreseeable future imho) replace humans but rather augment them. So – enough with Artificial Intelligence. It is Augmented Technology!

From Rasu Shrestha, MD  Chief Strategy Office and Executive Vice President at Atrium Health

AI is everywhere. Every vendor seems to tout it, and every conference is filled with talk of everything AI. Folks tend to think that you throw in AI, and your paper gets published, your company gets funded, your product gets sold, and your customers’ interests get peaked. And therein lies the problem. AI is not a magic bullet. And when “AI” gets thrown as a solution to everything, it dilutes the real value of what AI is already delivering, and the potential to bring real solutions to real challenges. Let’s take the phrase “Artificial intelligence” to therapy in 2020, and let’s have a real conversation. Let’s be a lot more specific, let’s be truthful, and let’s go deeper – so we can really unravel the reality from the hype.

From Sarah Bennight – Director of Product Marketing at Stericycle Communication Solutions

AI-powered (insert technology). I think that it’s obvious that nearly everything we use these days is powered by some sort of intelligence (have you looked at Google analytics lately?) I would like to see more people talking about the real benefit of this technology more than just slapping it on to seem more competitive. What is the real value here? Is it tested and proved, and do you have data to back this up?

Digital Transformation

From Elena Ivanova – Social Media Manager at InterSystems

I really hope “digital transformation” will go away in 2020, but companies seem to love it too much. It’s so generic, and I wish companies would get more creative and specific about what they are actually trying to communicate.

From Terri White – VP Corporate Marketing at Information Builders

Digital Transformation. Although I am guilty of using it a lot! No doubt that the world is changing and healthcare organizations must respond. The future will be built on data – it will belong to those organizations that figure out how to get theirs in order so they can adopt and adapt to new technologies, imbue systems with new intelligence, and continually innovate.


From BJ Boyle – Vice President and General Manager of Post-Acute Insights at PointClickCare

It’s time to stop talking about interoperability as if it’s a far-off feature that may never come. In 2020, we should expect to see interoperability and data fluidity as the norm, especially as it relates to patient centricity. We have entered into a new normal where care providers simply need to share data in order to drive better health outcomes. The conversation needs to evolve and focus on the solutions that vendors can provide, and outcomes that providers expect, predict, and standardize.

From Bill Kotraba – Vice President, Healthcare Solutions and Strategy at Information Builders

The chasing of health IT buzzwords is a major pet peeve of mine and does a great disservice to the industry. I think AI and interoperability are two buzzy terms right now that are overplayed.


From Luke Bonney – Co-founder and CEO at Redox

I hope we stop talking about healthcare as consumer-driven healthcare because it will simply be the way we deliver healthcare.

From Nagi Prabhu – Chief Product Officer at Solutionreach

Healthcare organizations will begin to understand how patients and consumers differ. While patients want consumer-like experiences, the gravity of patients’ needs are more serious and important than the vast majority of “consumer” situations. This realization will replace the word consumerism with something that truly represents the personal, human, and clinical nature of the patient-provider relationship.


From Pam Landis – VP Digital Engagement at Hackensack Meridian Health

Can we stop using the phrase “patient engagement?” Isn’t everything we do about ensuring our patients have easy access to manage their own care. We say patient engagement like it’s some specific and unique strategy when it’s really foundational to everything we do in healthcare. How do we actually deliver care without patients? It seems to me that patient engagement is a given.


From Grace Cordovano – Board Certified Patient Advocate and CEO at Enlightening Results

I’m going to go with the queen mother of health care marketing tactics & buzzwords to say patient-centricity is dead. From a patient and carepartner perspective, every stakeholder in the health care ecosystem claims they are putting the patient in the center of their care. It’s crystal clear the vast majority of agents are profits over patients. In the new Roaring 20’s, we demand partnership rooted in transparency, autonomy, inclusivity, and trust.

Patient Compliance

From Sunnie Southern – VP, Health and Life Sciences Division at Onix Networking Group

The phrase doesn’t represent how we as a healthcare ecosystem need to think about the importance of the role that the individual (not even going to use the word “patient”) plays in achieving and maintaining the health and well-being they desire.

I believe that the real magic in healthcare happens at the moment the individual and the clinician connect. If the clinician can align what matters to the individual with what the clinician considers most helpful to support the individual, the interactions will be more meaningful and successful.

We have all the tools available to us to achieve this very natural and human way of respecting and interacting with one another—some are technical, but most are simply require a mindset and possibly a little training/ retraining.  Let’s put these to use in 2020!


From John Lynn – Founder and Sr Editor at Healthcare Scene

I’d love to see this word disappear in healthcare.  Nothing in healthcare is turnkey.  Even if the health IT solution you want to implement is indeed turnkey, that doesn’t mean that the process of a hospital or medical practice is turnkey.  It’s not and has to go through a whole set of approvals before it can be implemented.  We could argue about whether this is a good or a bad thing, but I don’t see it changing for a long time to come.  Turnkey just doesn’t happen in healthcare and so that word should disappear from sales decks.

Shiny New Objects

From Brian Mack – Manager of Marketing & Communication at Great Lakes Health Connect

I would like to see the entire healthcare/technology/marketing community to overcome our propensity to be distracted by the latest and greatest “shiny object”. Weren’t Big Data, FHIR, Artificial Intelligence, and Blockchain supposed to ‘drive the world’??? At what point do we stop chasing shiny objects and start focusing on standards first???

Uber of Healthcare

From Colin Hung – Yours Truly

This is the buzzword that I hope will fade away in 2020. I totally get that Uber helped to disrupt the taxi industry and has changed the way we look at transportation. However, the company has yet to turn a profit (they say they invest all their profits into R&D) and they have a reputation of not paying or treating its drivers very well. I think it’s time we stop referring to the next hot healthcare startup as the “Uber of Healthcare”. Let’s just use regular adjectives like innovative or disruptive instead.

Original source here.

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