Declare your independence from outdated communication, collaboration and care delivery approaches. In anticipation of the Fourth of July, our HIT List celebrates a plethora of revolutionary healthcare technologies from telemedicine to APIs to social media.

  1. Never too early to start. If you need more evidence that telemedicine is moving mainstream, consider this: The AMA now recommends incorporating telemedicine training into medical school curricula. Instructing doctors-to-be on telemedicine’s capabilities — and limitations — is essential to harnessing its potential for improving care, says AMA immediate past president Robert Wah, MD. It’s all part of the AMA’s effort to “reimagine” future medical education.
  2. Alert! Alert fatigue is problematic. EHR automated alert systems generate so many warnings that overwhelmed clinicians ignore them between 49% and 96% of the time. Software vendors say they’re trying to make their systems smarter, hospital task forces are seeking to identify and turn off alerts that aren’t relevant or necessary, and system designers are aiming to create fewer, more meaningful alerts. Here’s hoping these efforts can sharply curtail alert fatigue, which poses a serious risk to patient safety.
  3. Time to switch gears. 84% of respondents in a new security study report their managed security services provider does not offer proactive hunting services. Experts say that’s a huge problem, now that cyberattackers increasingly focus on gaining complete control over IT systems rather than simply disrupting them with worms, viruses and denial-of-service attacks. See why risk-based security strategies that build a protective barrier around patient data and IT systems — similar to the human body’s immune system — are fast becoming a must-have.
  4. A new vital sign. Social media is proving to be a new vital sign that can yield key information about individuals’ mental health. Psychologists and computer scientists are learning to read between the lines of tweets, Facebook posts and more to gauge when people are stressed, depressed or hesitant to take medication. Of course, implementing this type of remote patient monitoring raises a host of questions about which health providers should — or want to — receive this information, and if and when they have a responsibility to act on it.
  5. Show APIs some love. Those who believe APIs are healthcare’s ticket to better interoperability are breathing a sigh of relief now that the Joint Health IT Committee has voted in favor of their deployment. Although concerns about API security nearly blocked the recommendation, this expert presents a convincing case that well-implemented APIs are actually a safer way to share data than websites, file transfers or email. Check out her myth-busting logic.
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