As the kids head back to school, healthcare leaders continue to educate themselves on how to make the most of technology to improve outcomes and the patient experience. Our HIT List this week studies some of the newest technology advances such as 4D printing and clinical event notification, along with ongoing challenges such as mobile device security and health information exchange.

  1. Healthy or scary? One day in the not-so-distant future, state health information exchanges might actually be able to pool patient data into a massive national database. Supporters see great potential for reducing medical errors and improving treatment with expanded access to patient records. But critics worry about privacy, discrimination and data misuse. Are you for or against — assuming, that is, we can ever resolve our current interoperability woes?
  2. Next-gen OR. Black boxes soon may not be just for airplanes. Researchers are developing black boxes for operating rooms that video-record procedures, healthcare team conversations and even room temperature to try to better understand when errors occur — and how they can be prevented. Sound like a promising safety tool?
  3. And you thought 3D printing was cool. 4D printing could have a major impact on healthcare and other industries, says a new Frost & Sullivan report. The technology allows users to print objects — think artificial organs, for example — that reshape or reassemble themselves in response to external stimuli such as water, movement or temperature change. OK, it’s only in the theoretical stages, but it’s still pretty darn amazing.
  4. Fake apps, real threats. Hackers frequently use mobile devices as springboards to launch cyberattacks, making malware one of the most likely paths for gaining unauthorized access to huge systems such as EHRs. And, believe it or not, it turns out fake apps are one of the biggest malware sources. A new report found that 40% of the apps categorized as medical were phony and half of those were detected as malware. Time to educate your employees?
  5. 10 ways to beef up security. Hire a CSO, make sure your security staff meets regularly with end users and learn from other industries. These are three of the strategies security experts recommend to keep your data safe, given that healthcare organizations remain particularly vulnerable. They’re lucrative targets for hackers, and have the highest percentage of breaches from theft or loss compared to other verticals. Check out more strategies these experts swear by.
  6. Rising stars. A host of health IT companies rank among Inc.’s “Fastest Growing Companies.” For example, Crescendo Bioscience is a molecular diagnostic company that also offers an app for rheumatoid arthritis patients to use to track and report pain. Then there’s MobileHelp, whose medical alert monitoring tools include event notification and online tracking for families and caregivers; and CareCloud, an EHR software and medical billing software provider that also offers patient engagement tools. See what other companies are successfully jumping on the IT bandwagon.
  7. More coordination, better care. From the recent CMS decision to pay physicians a monthly fee to coordinate care for Medicare patients with two or more chronic conditions, to innovative clinical event notification (CEN) services, everyone’s trying to figure out how to improve care coordination. The CEN systems aim to reduce avoidable admissions and duplicate testing by integrating health information exchange data and near real-time notifications to primary care providers when patients go to emergency departments, even those outside their system. How are you stepping up care coordination?

 

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