We hope you’ll help kick off the charitable season this #GivingTuesday by donating your time, money, goods or voice to causes you care about. And, of course, we also hope you’ll continue to give plenty of thought to how IT can help empower clinicians and patients to improve health outcomes. This week’s HIT List highlights a wealth of opportunities and challenges, from developing more mobile apps and expanding home health IT adoption to securing the IoT.

  1. More mobility, more worry. Mobile app security — including data encryption, HIPAA compliance and data access — is a key concern for 90% of healthcare providers, a recent survey reports. Fueled by provider and patient demand, organizations expect to develop 36% more apps over the next year. However, they are planning budget increases of only 15.5%, which could inhibit mHealth growth unless they move from app development as a one-off project to a platform-based approach and API-based architecture.
  2. Home health is where the tech is. Nearly 50% of home health agencies rely on tablets and iPads to capture patient information, up from 27% two years ago. And agencies that use telehealth or remote monitoring systems find them highly effective tools: 62% reduced unplanned hospitalizations, nearly 75% improved overall quality and 63% boosted patient satisfaction. However, the length of time it takes average clinicians to become fully competent using point-of-care technology varies widely and appears to be influenced by both the type of technology and the vendor.
  3. Regulation, please! Worried about catastrophic scenarios such as an IoT attack that takes down the entire healthcare system, cybersecurity experts don’t think the standards and best practices recently issued by the White House go far enough. They’re arguing for comprehensive federal mandates to strengthen IoT security, given the growing ubiquity and vulnerability of connected devices — such as those that still have hardcoded passwords and other outdated safeguards. Hopefully, last month’s wide-scale infrastructure attack was a wake-up call to legislators.
  4. Wearables traction. Wearable technology is likely to have far more impact on healthcare once it moves beyond the fit consumers and the “worried well” who are currently its biggest fans. But physician reluctance resulting from concerns about data saturation and the need to promote patient compliance are just two of the hurdles to wider adoption. Check out some of the other challenges.
  5. Hand in hand. The push for value-based care is fueling expansion of the accountable care solutions market, which in turn is driving unprecedented growth in the digital transformation market. That’s because the analytics, EHR, population health, care management and other applications essential to accountable care success rely heavily on new infrastructure deployments including cloud computing, mobility and next-generation storage. Scalability and future-proofing are certainly taking on new meaning.
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