Healthcare technologies may not be earning Oscars at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, but plenty deserve to be recognized for their outstanding performance. Roll out the red carpet for the stars on this week’s HIT List, which include 3D printing, home health mHealth platforms and cybersecurity strategies!
- 3D adds new dimension. 3D printed models are helping surgeons study and practice on exact replicas of patients’ hearts, brains and other organs before they operate, shortening surgeries and improving outcomes. They’re also ideal for explaining complicated surgeries to patients and their families. The surgical models and customized prostheses are driving growth in the global 3D healthcare printing market, expected to total $2.3 billion by 2020. However, since 3D printers don’t come cheap, hospitals will need to make a case for reimbursement by demonstrating measurable value.
- Team effort required. Stronger partnerships between vendors, health IT professionals, risk managers, the clinical care team and patients are key to protecting patients from being harmed by EHRs, warns this insurance executive. Both unsafe technology (think poor templates or malfunctioning systems) and unsafe use (think insufficient training and human error) can contribute to increased risk — and leave healthcare professionals open to malpractice suits. See what steps your organization should take to safeguard patient safety.
- House calls via app. More home health agencies are seeing value in using mHealth platforms and the Internet of Things to help patients transition from hospital to home — and avoid readmission. For example, care teams at a Chicago-based agency can now use a smartphone app to check in daily on patients with congestive heart failure and COPD. The app is part of a chronic disease management platform that analyzes vital signs and other data, and also supports collaboration with the patients’ physicians. Staying connected sounds like a smart way to help patients stay healthy at home.
- Know your vulnerabilities. The average 500-bed hospital often has more than 7,500 medical devices, which translates into a heck of a lot of potential security risks. To improve cybersecurity preparedness, healthcare organizations need to educate everyone from IT staff to biomedical engineers to clinicians to better understand — and more quickly react to — vulnerabilities that could endanger patients. And it never hurts to bring in the manufacturers, too, to help ensure device security in a real-world healthcare environment.
- Bolster those cyberdefenses. The primary errors leading to healthcare data breaches, which remain at an epidemic level, are device loss (31%), data misdelivery (28%), disposal error (26%) and publishing error (9%), reports a new Verizon study. The good news is that healthcare organizations are getting savvier about detecting the incidents more quickly. But since many organizations outside the healthcare industry don’t even realize they store protected health information (PHI) — such as in their employee records or company wellness programs — there’s still plenty of need to expand and strengthen cybersecurity defenses.