Whether you prefer your turkey roasted, smoked, deep-fried, spatchcocked or made of tofu, we can agree we’re full of thanks this holiday for healthcare technology. Our Thanksgiving HIT List shows that no matter how you slice it, advances such as predictive analytics, smart textiles and APIs are helping improve population health, preserve the independence of seniors and promote interoperability. Happy Turkey Day!

  1. The state of population health. Believe it or not, the lack of strong leadership — not data management or technology — is often the biggest challenge when it comes to leveraging predictive analytics to improve population health, according to the Healthcare Center of Excellence. But its new report also shows healthcare organizations are doing a better job gathering and integrating the data they need to successfully perform quantitative modeling and high-level data analytics. See what other progress is being made.
  2. Smart fashion. In the coming years, senior fashion is likely to include a host of wearable technology. For example, there are smart glasses to help adjust for failing eyesight due to macular degeneration, smart watches to alert them to take pills, sensor-equipped socks that can warn people with diabetes when they’re at risk for foot ulcers, and t-shirts to track stress levels. With the elderly currently comprising 14.5% of the U.S. population, it’s no surprise medical applications are expected to make up the biggest share of the smart textile industry.
  3. Shifting priorities. In its annual report to Congress, the ONC says it’s time to focus on seamless, secure data exchange, now that 96% of hospitals and 78% of physician practices use EHRs. The ONC’s top three priorities are promoting common standards — including using APIs, supporting a business case for interoperability and changing the culture surrounding data access. Hopefully the additional authority ONC has requested to combat information blocking and enhance transparency will help them get from here to there.
  4. Hazard warning. Despite features designed to reduce the risk of infusion errors, infusion pumps still top the ECRI Institute’s 2017 list of the worst IT hazards. Any of the other items in the top 10 also could harm patients, the organization warns. These include inadequate cleaning of complex reusable instruments, missed ventilator alarms and software management gaps. Check out the other issues that demand vigilance to protect patient safety.
  5. Data-driven promise. Privacy issues still pose obstacles when it comes to using personal data to drive healthcare advances. At the inaugural Brainstorm Health conference, experts raised concerns about the role of employee data in employer wellness programs, the security of data collected through the government’s genome initiative and whether HIPAA is still up to the task of regulating the privacy of health data. There’s certainly plenty to chew on.
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