Even if you didn’t make it to the official grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland last week, you’re probably still enchanted by all the technology that continues to magically transform the healthcare industry. There’s nothing Mickey Mouse about the attractions—including virtual reality, Big Data analytics and the IoT—featured on this week’s HIT List!

  1. Quest for a cure. Smart watches, the cloud and Big Data analytics all hopefully will play a part in developing a cure for Parkinson’s, the disease battled by the late Muhammad Ali as well as Michael J. Fox and as many as 10 million others worldwide. The goal is to cull meaningful insights from massive amounts of objective data gathered by daily tracking of patient activity levels, sleep, tremors and medication management. That’s a clinical study worth keeping an eye on.
  2. More than fun and games. Virtual reality headsets can transport senior citizens to their childhood homes, cities around the globe or into outer space — widening horizons for people with reduced mobility. The same technology that can entertain with virtual adventures may also be used one day soon to provide a safe environment to test the abilities of people with dementia, or the efficacy of cognitive therapy. Check out the other innovative ways this tech startup aims to put virtual reality to work changing lives.
  3. 3 reasons to embrace the IoT. Although healthcare IoT adoption lagged behind consumer electronics, retail, automotives and utilities last year, it’s expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 38.1%, topping $163 billion by 2020. This growth promises to generate at least three positive outcomes: #1) time and money savings as a result of data-driven care; #2) faster response times during medical emergencies; and #3) higher patient satisfaction, thanks to better communication. Let’s hear it for expanded connectivity!
  4. Unrealized potential. Despite the growing popularity of smart home and home health monitoring technologies, researchers say the evidence is lacking or contradictory when it comes to their ability to address disability prediction, health-related quality of life and fall prevention. However, some experts say remote monitoring requires different ways of evaluating effectiveness than traditional clinical measures. Of course, there’s always the challenge of designing and funding research fast enough to study the technology before it becomes outdated.
  5. Sunny outlook for the cloud. More than half of healthcare organizations say they have already moved mission-critical workloads, including sensitive patient information, to a cloud or software-defined data center. And despite continuing data security concerns, 77% of healthcare organizations plan to increase the use of public cloud services. See which security strategies and policies — from contextual visibility to geo-fencing of users — are must-haves.

 

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