“Witch”ever healthcare technologies you’ve carved out a niche for in your organization, we’re pretty sure there’s not a ghost of a chance you aren’t constantly on the lookout for more up-and-comers. All tricks aside, our Halloween HIT List treats you to some “spook”tacular candidates, including hybrid clouds, social media public health monitoring and predictive analytics.

  1. Hear, hear for hybrids. The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly enamored with hybrid clouds, given their ability to meet security and compliance demands for protected health information (PHI) while allowing use of a more affordable public cloud for less sensitive data. But hybrid models still have some cybersecurity challenges, such as the lack of well-defined service level agreements (SLA). See what other red flags to look for.
  2. Sweet tweets. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Mayo Clinic rank #1 and #2 on a new website’s top 10 list of hospitals, compiled from positive patient experience tweets. The site aims to use Twitter data to help consumers compare hospitals and also to help hospital executives better understand where they need to improve services. The results are certainly worth following.
  3. Social media sleuthing. Social media is proving a boon for public health monitoring. 40% of hospitals use it for real-time situational intelligence and communication in a crisis, just as Massachusetts General did during the Boston Marathon bombing. Facebook’s Safety Check button made it simple for Nepal earthquake survivors to indicate their status during rescue efforts. And Arizona researchers are developing models to predict ED visits for chronic conditions such as asthma based on data from Twitter and EMRs.
  4. Closing the gap. The U.S. continues to spend far more money on healthcare than other high-income countries, generally with far poorer outcomes. In an effort to narrow this gap, some communities and providers are starting to use predictive analytics to proactively and cost-effectively improve population health. Chicago identifies children at risk for lead poisoning, Geisinger Health System reduced the risk of heart attack, amputation and diabetic retinopathy in patients with type 2 diabetes, and Texas Children’s Hospital slashed unnecessary chest X-rays for asthma patients by 30%.
  5. Interoperability insights. A dozen leading EHR developers have signed on to a set of objective measures for interoperability, also agreeing to ongoing reporting by KLAS. The goal is to get a clearer picture of interoperability progress by gleaning information about vendor capabilities and responsiveness — and ultimately figure out how to overcome the hurdles to seamless data exchange. Here’s hoping a little transparency pays big dividends.
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