Ah, summer — when beaches, ice cream shops and farmers’ markets beckon, and nearly everyone seems to kick back a bit. But vacation season or not, advances in healthcare technology continue to heat up. Our new HIT List highlights some of the hottest developments — including artificial intelligence, telemedicine and hybrid cloud storage.

  1. AI on the rise. Close to 86% of healthcare providers, life sciences companies and technology vendors now use artificial intelligence (AI) technology, primarily geared toward improving business operations. Healthcare companies currently spend about $38 million on AI projects, but that number is expected to jump to $54 million by 2020. The key challenge? Convincing managers and employees to trust the advice AI offers.
  2. Gaping guidelines gap. Telemedicine investment is booming, but 36% of health executives surveyed named the lack of quality evidence or ROI as a key challenge. Experts agree that accelerating development of clinical guidelines is critical to building respect for the emerging field, addressing liability concerns, measuring outcomes and ensuring quality patient care. In other words, it’s high time to move beyond simplistic existing guidelines such as making sure you have a good video connection.
  3. Burnout blues. The good news is that health IT and clinical teams both see value in partnering to help prevent medical errors and improve clinical decision support. The less good news is that 83% of IT leaders surveyed report being burned out, often due to inadequate budget or resources, while doctors and nurses overwhelmingly name technology as a contributing factor to burnout. On a hopeful note, many clinicians say technology that improves workflow could actually reduce burnout.
  4. EMR vs. EHR vs. PHR. Since the dawn of the digital age in healthcare, these terms have frequently been used interchangeably. But what are the differences? Whose definition should rule — CMS, ONC or HIMSS Analytics? And how much do the distinctions matter, legally speaking or otherwise? Check out the answers to these burning questions and more — all while discovering some tantalizing historical tidbits.
  5. To store or not to store. It appears that hybrid cloud storage is going to be a fact of life for most healthcare organizations, at least for the near future. The challenge is determining which workloads and applications should reside in the cloud and which should remain on-premises — as well as recognizing the need for a smart migration strategy. Observing that healthcare organizations often underestimate how difficult cloud deployment can be, this expert recommends taking a holistic approach that includes the security and finance teams. See what other advice she offers for ensuring cloud success.
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