First performed in St. Petersburg the week before Christmas in 1892, “The Nutcracker” ballet has become a beloved holiday classic. Whether or not you intend to catch a local performance this season, we want to remind you there are also plenty of healthcare IT topics taking center stage. Our HIT List this week showcases several sure to keep you on your toes, including healthcare robots, complex event processing and precision medicine.

  1. Data diving and dabbling. US. hospitals are all over the map when it comes to using data to improve efficiency and quality of care, Healthcare IT News found when it polled its “Best Hospital IT Departments.” Some are dabbling in population health analytics, while others are deep into genomics and precision medicine. Take a closer look at some of the data-driven initiatives taking shape.
  2. Rising tide of robots. Healthcare providers looking to improve accuracy, outcomes and cost efficiencies are driving growth in the robot market. Annual shipments are likely to top 10,000 within five years, with revenues predicted to reach $2.8 billion. Expect to see everything from surgical, hospital logistics, disinfectant and nursing robots to exoskeleton robots, robotic prosthetic limbs and possibly even origami robots (yes, they’re designed to be folded into a swallowable capsule).
  3. IoT + CEP = better patient safety. An emerging network technology often used in the IoT, complex event processing (CEP) turns incoming data about events into more useful, “complex” data designed to provide insights in real or near-real time. See why this researcher believes CEP’s ability to derive conclusions from data may prove especially valuable in ensuring patient safety in healthcare IoT systems, especially as sensors and devices continue to collect unprecedented amounts of data.
  4. Think digital. Hospitals that want to connect with their patients need to make the most of digital media. The key is using the right channel to reach different audiences with customized messages. For example, Facebook works best with GenXers, making it a smart place to post content geared to young adults and parents. Teens and Millennials prefer texts, while email is the winner with the 65+ demographic. And don’t overlook the value of turning your patient portal into yet another digital media channel. Check out other tips for effectively engaging patients.
  5. Big Data intelligence. Insights gleaned from EMRs, social media and other digital data sources are helping the National Institutes of Health (NIH) improve infectious disease surveillance, advance understanding of rare diseases and improve antibiotic resistance monitoring, to name just a few of Big Data’s game-changing applications. But along with the untapped potential, there are also hurdles — such as the sheer volume of data, the reliability of unconventional data streams and, as always, privacy and security concerns.
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