LeBron James and Stephen Curry certainly bring plenty of star power to the 2016 NBA Finals. But other winning performers — such as FHIR, medical GIS and population health management — are busy upping the game in the healthcare technology arena, as this week’s HIT List showcases.

  1. All FHIR-ed up. Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources, aka FHIR, has exciting potential to transform data exchange by making more granular elements — e.g., lab results or medication lists — easily accessible and transferable via API interfaces. In particular, population health management (PHM) stands likely to benefit, given the need to integrate data gleaned from PHM tools into EMRs to create actionable alerts. See why ONC head Karen DeSalvo is such a FHIR fan that she recently announced three app developer challenges focused on advancing interoperability through the standard.
  2. Healthy gains for GIS. Hospitals are starting to take advantage of GIS — geographic information systems — long used by U.S. public health agencies and global health organizations to map disease outbreaks and monitor intervention effectiveness. For example, medical GIS can help health systems identify “hot spots” where large numbers of high-need individuals live, predict readmissions based on geography, and reduce ED use and hospital stays by connecting high-risk patients with community resources. That’s what we call value.
  3. Rethinking Google Glass. Google Glass is showing promise for real-time data exchange during triage, emergency room consultations with specialists, and two-way communication between paramedics and physicians. The ability to see the patient — not just hear verbal descriptions — supports better informed decision-making in these fast-paced, high-pressure environments. So far, data sharing seems like a more viable application than the original goal of having physicians use the wearable computing device while administering patient care.
  4. To access or not to access. HIPAA says it’s a right. Technology makes it easy. Yet patients may find full access to their EMRs easier said than done, for a number of reasons. These include physician worries about content disagreements with patients, malpractice liability concerns, and legal limbo regarding access by minors and people with mental illness. However, advocates insist access to all data in their EMRs can empower patients. Check out why.
  5. Medications get personal. A new fabrication method developed by researchers in Singapore brings personalized medicine a big step closer to reality. The system makes it cheaper and easier for physicians to produce customized medications on the spot, using software and a 3D printer. The ability to combine all the pills a patient needs into a single tablet that releases multiple drugs at different predetermined times throughout each day certainly would be a game-changer.
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