Believe it or not, this is the 10th annual National Health IT Week. We’re pumped about all the progress there is to celebrate! Of course, we know that realizing technology’s full potential to empower patients and providers, reduce costs and improve care is an ongoing effort. Our HIT List runs the gamut from the desire for greater digital connection to the all-too-familiar struggle to secure patient data.

  1. Playing catch-up. Patients accustomed to digital convenience in most aspects of their lives increasingly expect the same when it comes to healthcare, which is generally considered as much as 15 years behind the times technology-wise. A new Surescripts survey found Americans are more frustrated with healthcare’s paperwork and customer service than they are with banks, auto dealerships and cellphone companies, among others. And about half said they would be more willing to reach out to their doctor via email or text, with 43% saying that would make them feel less rushed when asking questions. Time to ramp up the digital connections.
  2. ICD-10, for real. On October 1, the U.S. finally joined the ranks of countries the world over that have adopted ICD-10 — some nearly two decades ago. Despite umpteen delays and protests from many powerful interests until the eleventh hour, CMS stuck to its implementation guns this time. Fortunately, the one-year, no-penalty grace period for coding errors should ease some of the pain for providers struggling to adjust to the new normal.
  3. Super-susceptible on security. Healthcare organizations are plagued by 340% more hacking and privacy incidents than entities in other industries, says a new report. They’re 400% more likely to suffer advanced malware attacks, and nearly 84% of “dropper incidents” — where malware is placed into systems through open back-door channels — happen in healthcare. See why some security experts think eliminating cybersecurity threats is an impossible mission, and what strategy they recommend instead.
  4. Something’s phishy. Cyberattacks still trail far behind loss or theft of data as the reason for healthcare data breaches, but they now account for 95% of records exposed. Phishing provides the most common entry into a network. To activate the malware, only one person needs to actually open the email (20%–40% are likely to) and click on the attachment (about 70% will). Check out why something as straightforward as backing up your data — and making sure your business associates do, too — can make all the difference if you get hacked.
  5. Thumbs up for telehealth. Patient post-op follow-up visits conducted by phone or video were just as effective as in-person office visits, a new study found. Equally positive, 69% of the participants — all veterans — preferred the telehealth consults, especially if they lived far from the hospital. Seems like a win-win approach that can save money, improve access to care and increase physician productivity.
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