Exploring the 5 Biggest Healthcare Technology Trends in 2016
Health care technology is complex. As a result, identifying trends in this sector is difficult. But certain developments that are of interest to HIT executives have emerged recently. The executives must now include these trends in their strategies. So that you can understand them better, here are the five biggest healthcare technologies of 2016.
1) Data Storage
Recent health reforms have resulted in the use of electronic health records (EHR). And as EHR databases grow, the industry must figure out how to store and organize such large amounts of data. Information that contains images and genomic information is proving to be the biggest headache.
And so is having storage systems that can accommodate big data. As expected, health organizations are struggling under the weight. A proper master's in healthcare management, or an online MHA degree, should prepare a healthcare manager for IT and big data problems.
2) Information Sharing and Interoperability
EHR databases must be in a position to better exchange health information by the year 2018. This is as mandated by the CHIP Reauthorization Act and The Medicare Access laws. And the Department of Health has announced the way forward. Apparently, everyone involved in information sharing has committed to doing three things. They are; allowing the sharing of data, not restricting access, and sticking to specified standards.
3) Cyber Crime
Cyber criminals have changed tactic and are now targeting healthcare organizations. They have two aims. The first is to get the data in EHRs. It fetches a high price on the black market because of its personal nature. Unlike credit card information, health data such as dental records contains personal markers.
The second is to ask for a ransom. Criminals are hacking into the simple defenses of small medical practices and organizations. They then hold the data hostage until a ransom is paid. This practice is now so common that it has caught the eye of the Federal Communications Commission. Just recently, it issued cyber security tips for small businesses and medical practices.
4) Network Security
As cyber-attacks on health organizations increase, network security must become a priority. And the number of attacks on the industry is staggering. A recent study by the Ponemon Institute found out that 9 out of 10 health organizations have come under attack in the past two years alone.
Of these, at least half have had their systems breached more than five times in the same period. In response to these threats, healthcare organizations are now spending more on network security. But because of their tight budgets, they are not allocating enough on it.
5) Unique Patient Identifiers
The push to have a foolproof unique patient identifier is on. At the head of this push is the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). CHIME has even gone as far as running a $1 million challenge aimed at coming up with a viable solution.
But why is patient identification and record matching so important? Russ Branzell, the head of CHIME, answers this question. He says that mismatching patients to EHRs is costing the lives of countless Americans every day. To him, the situation is very grave. And this is why the organization is pushing for an identifier that can match patients to their EHRs with 100% accuracy.
Recent developments in the healthcare technology sector have changed the industry for good. They include data storage issues and the sharing of health information. And close behind them is the rise of cybercrime and its response, network security. Finally, there is the development of a unique patient identifier.