Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 22, 2012

HealthTechZone Week in Review

Chances are it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas near you, but even an advancing holiday can't stop the flow of news. As ever, there was a lot to cover in the healthcare technology arena, and that means a prime time for us to set up our week in review coverage and run down the biggest events of the pre-Christmas week in healthcare technology!

First, we saw how the University of Alabama at Birmingham was using the Mytrus app to improve what's known as the informed consent process in medical testing. Mytrus allows users to find a clinical trial that interests them, and then, provides step by step instructions for users to successfully complete their tasks. Thanks to Mytrus, those engaged in sponsoring studies get a whole new look at the informed consent process that they wouldn't have had ordinarily and can thereby get an eye toward improvements in same.

The Health Information Trust Alliance, (HITRUST), brought in the next bit of news as they joined up with ISC in order to establish a new collective when it comes to the security of healthcare information. Specifically, the combined organization is out to focus on the educational side of things, focusing on getting information security professionals sufficiently up to snuff to protect the information involved in providing healthcare. A simpler, more universal method in providing that information security will also likely pay dividends in shorter training times and more capable IT staff overall.

Next is a look at the issue of patient satisfaction. Healthcare is, essentially, a business like any other. With competitors on all sides, hospitals, research facilities and the like must keep their customers satisfied in order to keep them coming back. Lake Norman Regional Medical Center looked to drive up patient satisfaction numbers by bringing in Amcom Messenger, a service that allows patients to contact their physician directly. With several patient surveys indicating better responsiveness would have been welcome, Amcom Messenger functions as a highly secure instant messenger program for healthcare facilities.

Then we had a look at mobile healthcare, which is not surprisingly set to boom. So much so that by 2017, it's set to reach the $23 billion mark worldwide, with the U.S. set to account for about a quarter of that at $5.9 billion. Given that there were reportedly over one billion visits to doctors' offices by Americans, it's easy to see where the growth of mobile healthcare could come into play, removing a fairly large chunk of those visits by providing information as it's needed to mobile devices rather than trying up a doctor's time.

Finally, there was an unexpected question being asked in the halls of healthcare: Do patients actually want to get better? Keeping patients adhering to the recommendations of their doctors can be difficult to say the least, but the more that's known about patient behaviors, the more likely it is that doctors can better design programs for patients. There are always suboptimal behaviors when it comes to a patient's health, but often, small changes are more likely to be stuck to in the long run. That means the potential for big savings throughout the care cycle. Mobile health tools can also play an important role in keeping patients on track with doctor recommendations, and that means big potential for savings.

That was the week that was in healthcare technology, and our global online community is constantly bringing fresh news back for you. So be sure to join us next week for more, and every weekend for our week in review coverage!

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