With the sixth annual mHealth Summit in full swing this week in Washington, DC, our thoughts are focused on new health tech developments galore plus the game-changing impact of mobile technology. Our HIT List this week covers tech topics that range from soaring social media adoption to digital health investment to telemedicine reimbursement.

  1. Full speed ahead. Digital health growth shows no signs of slowing down, with funding expected to nearly double this year compared to last. StartUp Health’s new study offered several other insights: the ACA is spurring innovation, health startup deal sizes are increasing and wearables are moving mainstream. Which digital investments intrigue you the most?
  2. Pick your platforms. In 2010, a mere 18% of hospitals had a Facebook account and only 16% were on Twitter. Today, more than 90% have Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp accounts and 40% are on Twitter. Interestingly, social media adoption has skyrocketed, particularly among rural and smaller hospitals. Do you agree with the researchers’ conclusions that social media is likely to become the dominant communication channel for healthcare?
  3. Yes, your EHR can boost patient engagement. Despite often being blamed for interfering with patient-provider interaction, EHRs can actually go a long way toward enhancing engagement. For example, projecting charts, images and other EHR data onto flat screens in exam rooms encourages patients to get involved in decision making. Interested in learning about more ways to leverage your EHR to engage patients?
  4. It pays to alert patients. Alerting patients with chronic conditions via their personal health record (PHR) about needed care appears more effective than alerting overloaded providers. A new study shows that 61% of the patients accessed the PHR or received the needed care after one alert, and 73% did so after receiving a second one. This response exceeded that generated by telephone or mail alerts. Ready to give alerts a try?
  5. Beware the top 10 tech hazards. Inappropriate alarm configuration policies and practices that lead to adverse medical events top the ECRI Institute’s list of 2015 healthcare technology hazards. Incorrect or missing data in EHRs and insufficient cybersecurity also rank high. Can you guess the other seven sources of concern?
  6. Ray of hope. ACOs will have more freedom than other Medicare providers to take advantage of reimbursable telemedicine under a newly released CMS proposed rule. But rather than completely waiving Medicare telemedicine requirements, the rule requires more information from the organizations about how the technology will be used to improve care coordination. Were you hoping CMS would go a bit farther?
  7. CIO words of wisdom. Speaking peer to peer at a recent summit, CIOs from leading healthcare organizations advised embracing multidisciplinary strategic planning, learning from other industries how to be more consumer-focused, and hiring mid-level leaders to bridge the gap between business and technology. But can you guess which perennial challenge everyone worried about most?
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