Operating on one hour less seems downright unfair, but it’s one more reminder that spring has to be right around the corner. As we adjust to having less time in our day, we know there’s no time to waste when it comes to health IT initiatives such as security, telehealth and patient portal improvements.

  1. Senior living security vulnerabilities. 2015 has already been dubbed “The Year of the Healthcare Hack” by cybersecurity experts and national media. It seems these days no organization or industry is off limits to hackers, and senior living companies would benefit from a multi-pronged approach to cybersecurity. Otherwise, they could be leaving a big target on their backs.
  2. Telehealth reimbursement. A bill is in circulation proposing that Medicare reimburse telehealth services at the same rate as in-person medical visits in the long-term care setting. The potential impact could not only expand the visibility and adoption of telehealth systems, but could also encourage private payers to follow suit. Sounds promising, doesn’t it?
  3. The elusiveness of EHR interoperability. According to a recent study, weak EHR interoperability is a challenge to primary care teams. Even with today’s growing emphasis on healthcare providers to improve patient-centric care, population health management and patient data documentation, interoperability still remains a struggle. Seems like vendors and providers still have some work to do.
  4. Making patient portals better. Deploying a patient portal doesn’t necessarily mean patients are engaging. Despite the demand for them and providers looking to qualify for meaningful use reimbursements, patient portals have yet to reach critical mass. Why? Most likely because providers are failing to communicate the availability and benefits of these services. Keep reading for some good tips to help encourage patient engagement.
  5. PHI breaches on the rise. Breaches of protected health information are of growing concern. A recent IT security assessment revealed a 25% increase in breaches from 2013 to 2014, with close to 8.9 million patient health records breached. With health records of such high value on the black market, how long will healthcare providers continue to be “ill equipped” to handle sophisticated cybersecurity threats?
  6. Retail clinics tap telemedicine. Retail medical clinics continue to grow in popularity due to their convenience, (lower) cost transparency and predictability. Through telemedicine technology, retail clinics are starting to become a necessary partner in a network of virtual healthcare providers who are all working together to effectively manage patient care that’s focused on delivering better outcomes. Sounds like the future will be here before we know it.
  7. Taking time for innovation. Many healthcare CIOs face short-term projects that leave little time for innovation. Yet one CIO urges his peers to take a long-term view and look for tools that can produce breakthroughs to foster increased productivity, and ideally be used in multiple ways.
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