If you had the opportunity to vote for your favorite health IT innovation this Election Day, how would you cast your ballot? Our HIT List this week campaigns for some high-performing candidates like smart clothes, telehealth and IoT security.

  1. Talking up telehealth. Connecting dementia patients with specially trained speech-language pathologists via telehealth improves patients’ ability to remember and communicate, a new study shows. Researchers at Northwestern University developed a home-grown telehealth platform that enabled patients to work on language skills in weekly video sessions from the convenience of their own homes. More fuel for expanding telehealth Medicare reimbursement.
  2. Smart fashion. By 2030, 19% of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older — creating huge potential for wearable technology such as “smart clothes” that monitor health and remind seniors to take their meds. Thanks to recent nanotechnology advances, designers can now embroider circuits into fabric using lightweight, low-cost “smart yarn.” Medical applications are expected to account for the largest share of the smart textile industry soon, but what will the fashionistas say?
  3. CNIOs on the rise. 51% of healthcare organizations surveyed by Witt/Kieffer have a chief nursing informatics officer (CNIO) or equivalent, up from 28% five years ago. The move to value-based care is driving the need for nursing IT leaders focused on areas such as EHR functionality, interoperability, ambulatory medicine and care transitions. It’s no wonder the CNIO role is becoming increasingly high-profile and strategic.
  4. Beware the botnets. At least two EHR vendors were affected by the recent Mirai malware attack that crippled major websites including Twitter and Netflix with a flood of botnets. Basically, the cyberattackers exploited vulnerabilities in IoT devices, underscoring the need for healthcare organizations to proceed with caution on IoT expansion. See which security tactics health systems are finding most effective for warding off the bad guys.
  5. Yelp, yikes! Plenty of physicians and other medical professionals find their reputations dinged by negative Yelp reviews, often posted by disgruntled or even clinically disturbed patients — yet HIPAA regulations handcuff clinicians when it comes to defending themselves. Responses must be vague and cannot even confirm the reviewer is a patient. But there are other effective ways to fight back, such as encouraging more patients to leave reviews or contacting negative reviewers privately. Check out other five-star strategies the experts recommend.
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