Fun fact to reflect on in light of “American Idol’s” swan song: 22% of respondents to an informal poll on AT&T’s website admitted they learned to text in order to vote on the show. The impact of technology clearly reaches far and wide — and healthcare is no exception. Favorite up-and-coming performers spotlighted in this week’s HIT List include secure text messaging, low-cost security strategies and tech gadgets geared toward older adults.

  1. Pagers may be history. When providers used mobile secure text messaging rather than a paging system to communicate with fellow members of their care teams, patient hospital stays were about 14% shorter, a new study found. Researchers hypothesize that the texting led to more efficient care coordination and thus earlier discharge. Unfortunately, though, readmission rates remained unchanged no matter how providers communicated.
  2. 5 low-cost ways to boost security. Data security costs money, and money is in short supply at many hospitals. But this expert outlines five critical — and low-cost — steps every hospital should take, at least for starters. Number one, make the CISO and CIO positions equal in rank to maintain separate spheres. Number two, include security updates in regularly scheduled reports to the board (something more than half of CISOs report doesn’t happen). Check out the other recommendations.
  3. Google gets in the act. Google has joined Amazon, IBM and Microsoft in efforts to generate game-changing insights on healthcare and other industries by leveraging Big Data and analytics. With the ability of Google’s newly introduced Cloud Machine Learning suite to manage massive data sets, look for it to focus on groundbreaking discoveries in areas such as precision medicine, population health management and genomics.
  4. IoT ups the security ante. Wearable devices including smart watches, smart glasses, heads-up displays (HUDs), health and fitness trackers, health monitors and wearable scanners are contributing to huge growth in the IoT. With an estimated 601 million wearable devices expected globally by 2020, the healthcare IoT security landscape will become even more complex — and make data protection more urgent. See how strategies such as next-generation IPS/IDS engines and multilayered security services can help keep your data safe.
  5. A relatively untapped market. Only 0.7% of venture capital funding went toward products geared for seniors in 2014, despite the fact that they account for about $1 trillion of our $18 trillion economy. But tech entrepreneurs are starting to take notice, with the market for older adult tech gadgets (think smart walkers, mobile help alarms and noise-canceling hearing aids) predicted to grow from $2 billion to $20 billion by 2020. Interest in mobile apps is also growing as families and caregivers recognize how their adoption can support better communication, productivity and peace of mind when caring for older adults. With all those aging Baby Boomers in the pipeline, sounds like there’s plenty of growth potential.
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