February 13, 2017
Connectivity is the name of the game in healthcare technology right now. A HIMSS 2016 survey found 52 percent of U.S. hospitals use three or more connected health technologies, which is great for improving communication, but can pose concerns for the safety of confidential information.
Let’s take a look at the most important technologies in recent years that are gaining innovative traction in health IT, and where they are falling short:
Consolidating and integrating data simplifies processes. Health monitoring with mobile apps and other platforms will provide holistic views of health in real time, and they are gaining popularity. This can have a positive impact on patient engagement by seeing the effects of their lifestyle choices more immediately. It will also result in better patient care when healthcare professionals can analyze all this data collectively.
Unfortunately, the system remains broken. The design of these current data systems predates the big data revolution, so making the connection between the various sources is difficult. The fact that integration tools are still archaic adds another layer of complexity to finding a solution that allows varied systems to talk to one another in a meaningful way.
The enthusiasm surrounding wearables, trackers, and remote monitoring is palpable, and there’s enormous potential for device data to impact the delivery of care that benefits both the patient and the provider. An Accenture report from 2015 found 73 percent of executives see positive ROI from personalization technology. Additionally, 43 percent of patients say they would wear tech to track vital signs and fitness. This trend will continue to evolve — the more recent 2016 HIMSS survey shows that patient generated health data solutions and telehealth concierge services are the two most common technologies cited that hospitals plan to add.
However, healthcare technology hasn’t caught up, and when it does, several security issues will arise. These personalized devices serve as an ongoing measure of one’s health, but the risks include getting inaccurate readings, sharing incorrect data, and corrupting the data during transfer. The demand for security analysts will continue to rise as these new vulnerabilities emerge. Teams will need to improve cloud storage and ensure HIPAA compliance is ongoing.
Healthcare technology allows us to track and store every detail of a patient’s experience, and as a result, the volume of data is increasing rapidly. The 2015 Accenture report found that 41 percent of executives say their data has grown more than 50 percent over one year. The growth on the clinical side indicates a higher demand from everyone — 52 percent of patients want access to EMR data related to physicians’ notes.
The demand for data continues to grow because the industry is realizing the true value of data. In the future, patients will be able to upload a picture to a device that will triage the issue using analytics, promising split-second diagnoses, and accurate care. Patients will be able to have personalized protocols and access to their health information in real time as long as they’re connected.
While this ideal future, that promises smooth integration, quick access, personalized treatment, and intelligent preventative care practices is thrilling to conceive, it’s still a pipe dream. The size of the big data impact is immeasurable, and it requires a large investment of time and resources in figuring out how IT experts can manage, store, and safely transmit all this data.
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