HealthTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare en The Benefits of Hyperconvergence in Healthcare <p>With expansions, mergers and an increased reliance on new technologies, <strong>the healthcare landscape is changing at dizzying speed</strong>. </p> <p>IT teams must keep pace with the transformation, navigate complex logistics and help to cut costs and deliver better patient care, says David Lehr, CIO of <a href="" target="_blank">Luminis Health</a>, a new regional healthcare system in Maryland comprising Anne Arundel Medical Center and Doctors Community Medical Center.</p> <p>“We need to be <strong>good stewards of the investments our communities make in us</strong>,” says Lehr. “Driving up unnecessarily high costs on complicated IT infrastructure that takes an army of people to manage isn’t a great way to live up to that expectation.”</p> <p><strong>One strategy at Luminis Health</strong>: adoption of the <a href="" target="_blank">Nutanix</a> Enterprise Cloud, which brings together storage, compute, virtualization and networking capabilities in a centrally managed hyperconverged infrastructure. </p> <p>That and other cloud-based solutions are changing the IT dynamic for healthcare providers by aiding consolidation and simplification as well as reducing expenses. </p> <p>“The typical healthcare provider operates in a cost-constrained environment,” says Brian Murphy, director of research for <a href="" target="_blank">Chilmark Research</a>. “The cloud isn’t necessarily cheaper for all applications, but <strong>it’s more flexible than other options</strong>. Hospitals aren’t anxious to make sudden transitions, and the cloud allows them to consolidate systems and functions on a case-by-case basis.”</p> Tommy Peterson VR Addresses Healthcare Training Needs to Improve Outcomes <p>The U.S. is in a doctor crunch. <a href="" target="_blank">According to the Association of American Medical Colleges</a>, the country will see <strong>a shortage of nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032</strong>. </p> <p>While there’s a host of reasons for this decline, including a growing and aging population, technology is filling some of that void by offering more effective and efficient training for doctors. One emerging solution: virtual reality.</p> <p>“It’s here, but very unevenly distributed, both institutionally and by modality too,” says Dr. Kevin Vigilante, executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton.</p> <p>While VR’s adoption in healthcare may still be in its early stages, there’s little doubt <strong>the immersive technology will have a lasting impact</strong> on care delivery.</p> Jen A. Miller How Telepsychiatry Is Improving Access to Mental Health Care <p>Growing up in Alaska, Dr. Yolanda Evans saw firsthand the healthcare gaps found in rural populations, a divide that includes mental health care.</p> <p>As an adolescent healthcare provider at <a href="" target="_blank">Seattle Children’s Hospital</a>, where she sees youths facing issues such as eating disorders and gender dysphoria, <strong>Evans has kept those concerns top of mind</strong> since joining the faculty in 2011.</p> <p>“I knew that I wanted to try to serve more rural patients,” she says. “I understand the needs in these communities.”</p> <p>Remote areas often lack specialists to provide counseling and intervention: <a href="" target="_blank">A 2017 Merritt Hawkins report</a> found <strong>77 percent</strong> of U.S. counties reported a severe shortage of psychiatrists. The Association of American Medical Colleges notes that <a href="" target="_blank">nearly two-thirds of practicing psychiatrists are 55 or older</a>, setting the stage for a substantial retirement drain.</p> <p>Meanwhile, <strong>1 in 5 Americans</strong> will experience a mental illness in a given year, <a href="" target="_blank">federal data shows</a>.</p> <p>It’s why Evans and some colleagues are using videoconferencing technology to reach patients outside a clinic’s walls. Seattle Children’s offers telepsychiatry services not only in Washington state but also in Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.</p> <p>The hospital, which first established a telehealth program in 2001, has long made mental health a core part of its offerings. “Psychiatry was the most requested specialty across our partner sites,” says Dr. Kathleen Myers, a psychiatrist at Seattle Children’s.</p> <p>The option appeals to many families, no matter their distance from a provider. “It reduces the burdens of missing work, absences from school, commuting to the hospital for a <strong>45-minute appointment</strong> and the steps of registration and waiting,” Myers says.</p> Jacquelyn Bengfort How AI Improves Patient Experience, Outcomes <p>The healthcare industry is ripe for change. From chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and diabetes, to risk assessment, there are countless opportunities where technology can enhance clinical workflows, improve experiences and elevate overall care.</p> <p>As physicians today face <a href="" target="_blank">high rates of burnout</a> and patients demand increased attention from their doctors, <strong>artificial intelligence is emerging as a credible solution </strong>to such problems. It is freeing up doctors’ time and allowing them to administer care both more attentively and effectively.</p> <p>The discipline, inclusive of machine learning and deep learning, is already making impressive waves in the world of healthcare today: <a href="">predicting senior falls</a>, <a href="">changing oncology</a>, <a href="">expanding access to care in remote areas</a> and much more.</p> <p>Here’s a look at some of the ways in which <strong>AI is helping healthcare organizations</strong> to make significant improvements in patient experience and outcomes. </p> Andrew Steger Make Smart Speakers Part of Your Care Strategy <p>Whether they’re used at home or at work, smart speakers help millions receive news headlines, play music or make to-do lists — just by saying a few simple words.</p> <p>Increasingly, the technology is being used in healthcare settings to <strong>empower patients and ease workflows</strong> for clinicians and caretakers. Based on how its device is configured, a hospitalized patient may ask a smart speaker to turn on the television or contact a nurse for help getting up to use the restroom. An elderly user might opt to receive daily reminders to take an important medication.</p> <p>Beyond aiding in simple tasks, the tools have greater power: One study <a href="">cited at the LeadingAge 2019 conference</a> found depression scores of older residents who used smart speakers in a senior care setting dropped by <strong>44 percent </strong>over a six-month period.</p> <p>By querying <a href="" target="_blank">Amazon Echo Dots</a> on details ranging from bingo times to dinner menus, users get “a little more of their independence back,” a Minnesota senior ­living administrator told LeadingAge attendees in October.</p> Christine Holloway Why All Healthcare Businesses Need a Cybersecurity Assessment <p>Health data is among the most coveted data by hackers. More patient records were <a href="" target="_blank">breached in the first half of 2019</a> than in all of 2018. Medical records are worth more on the deep web <a href="">than credit card and Social Security numbers</a>. </p> <p>And breaches are costly: Healthcare organizations pay an average of <strong>$6.45 million</strong> per incident, which is <strong>65 percent</strong> higher than mitigation costs seen in other industries, <a href="" target="_blank">a Ponemon Institute/IBM Security report finds</a>. Even worse, loss of critical IT systems and patient data, even briefly, hinders the power to provide care when seconds count.</p> <p>Brutal stories of ransomware attacks on small medical practices have peppered the news in recent months. <a href=";wpmm=1" target="_blank">A <em>Wall Street Journal</em> article</a> published in October cited the particularly crippling effects on small systems; some practices have even been forced to close.</p> <p>Because <strong>57 percent</strong> of all medical practices in the U.S. have <strong>10 physicians or fewer</strong>, according to the American Medical Association, these providers may lack IT resources or general knowledge of potential threats.</p> <p>But no healthcare business, regardless of its size, can afford to suffer a security breach, whose added resulting costs may include HIPAA fines and reputational damage. It’s why a comprehensive cybersecurity assessment — combined with ongoing, real-time monitoring — is crucial. </p> Jonathan Karl How the Internet of Medical Things Is Impacting Healthcare <p>Consider your most recent healthcare interaction. It likely involved some sort of medical device or equipment — a blood pressure monitor, a continuous glucose monitor, maybe even an MRI scanner.</p> <p>This should come as no surprise: More than <strong>500,000 medical technologies</strong> are currently available, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a recent Deloitte report</a>.</p> <p>Today’s internet-connected devices are being designed to improve efficiencies, lower care costs and drive better outcomes in healthcare. As computing power and wireless capabilities improve, organizations are leveraging the potential of Internet of Medical Things technologies.</p> <p>With their ability to collect, analyze and transmit health data, <strong>IoMT tools are rapidly changing healthcare delivery</strong>. For patients and clinicians, these applications are playing a central part in tracking and preventing chronic illnesses — and they’re poised to evolve the future of care.</p> <p>But how exactly does this connected ecosystem work? And what is the real difference between the Internet of Things and IoMT?</p> Andrew Steger Moving to Windows 10 in Healthcare: Read Our Complete Coverage <p>Today’s the day: As of January 14, 2020, <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> will no longer provide extended support for its decade-old Windows 7 operating system. In practice, this means no technical support, no software and no security updates that can mitigate threat risk.</p> <p><strong>Is your organization ready?</strong></p> <p>As reported in <em>HealthTech</em>, many healthcare businesses have been making preparations for months, if not years, to ensure a smooth transition to <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>. (But scores haven’t: A Forescout report noted last year that <strong>70 percent</strong> of medical devices are still <a href="" target="_blank">expected to run legacy Windows operating systems</a> as of this month.)</p> <p>The time to <a href="">make a game plan</a>, then, is now. The process involves a full equipment inventory, a thorough assessment of needs and pain points, and a clear — yet flexible — schedule for implementation. </p> <p>All elements are crucial to ensure patients and providers can take advantage of the upgrade without gaps in access to electronic medical records or exposing Internet of Medical Things tools to potential harm.</p> <p>Here’s a roundup of our Windows 10 coverage: </p> Kevin Joy Review: The Spectralink Versity 9553 Is Built to Protect <p>Hospitals and healthcare organizations have long struggled with mobility initiatives. Unlike most businesses, hospitals can’t implement <a href="">a BYOD policy for staff</a> without addressing a number of unique hurdles.</p> <p>For one thing, most personal mobile devices aren’t designed to resist substances such as chemicals and bodily fluids that clinicians might be exposed to on the job, nor are they immune from being bounced around on a busy treatment floor. Perhaps more pressing, <strong>patient data must be kept safe at all times</strong> due to HIPAA requirements.</p> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Spectralink Versity 9553</a> smartphone is designed to address these concerns. Created specifically for healthcare environments, the device offers clinicians a powerful Android-based platform for running applications and keeping in touch with colleagues while withstanding the rigors of hospital life and protecting personal information.</p> <p>At its core, <strong>the Versity 9553 is a modern smartphone</strong> with a large ­5.2-inch touch screen. Its native 1080x1920 resolution provides clarity for viewing detailed reports and high-resolution images.</p> <p>The device, which runs the Android 8.1 Oreo OS, can use Wi-Fi inside a covered facility and connect to any LTE cellular network when Wi-Fi is unavailable.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>READ MORE: </strong>Find out how mobile devices can improve the pediatric care experience.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Made to Be Both Strong and Safe</h2> <p>A close look reveals that<strong> the 9553 has been ruggedized</strong>: The screen is slightly recessed into the frame to ­protect it from drops, and the front panel has been swapped out for scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. There are no openings to the Versity’s internal components, which means fluids and germs won’t contaminate the smartphone’s interior, and liquids can be used to sterilize the exterior without harming the hardware.</p> <p>Care has also been taken to protect patient data. The Versity has a fingerprint scanner to support two-factor authentication, and sections of the smartphone’s memory (or all of it) can be encrypted. Further, the Versity offers fully HIPAA-compliant secure text messaging capabilities, allowing clinicians to communicate without creating a ­security risk.</p> <p>Because many hospital staff work long shifts, the Versity has been equipped with large, 3000 mAh batteries that can last longer than eight hours under continuous use. They’re also hot-swappable, meaning that dead batteries can be changed out for fresh ones if necessary, even while the phone is in use.</p> <p>Mobility is crucial for most ­organizations, and healthcare is no exception. The Spectralink Versity 9553 can give workers the <strong>functionality and special protections to do their jobs</strong> with added speed, insight and safety.</p> John Breeden II How NYU Langone Health Grew Its Telemedicine Program <p>As telemedicine becomes more widely available, two critical ingredients help determine the success and scalability of a health system’s offering: technology integration and ease of use.</p> <p>With those needs in mind, a virtual health program is thriving at <a href="" target="_blank">NYU Langone Health</a>, which has <strong>launched 35 related ­initiatives since 2017</strong>.</p> <p>By leveraging existing health system IT as the gateway for all of our telemedicine efforts, we’ve built a scalable platform using our own website and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources integration, a single instance of the Epic electronic health record, our core <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco</a> communication infrastructure and our <a href=";ctlgfilter=&amp;searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Vidyo</a> platform for fully integrated video visits.</p> <p>The centralized approach is by design.</p> <p>Patients may access their health record through the NYU Langone Health app on their smartphone or tablet to schedule appointments, view test results, and even see their doctor by scheduling a video visit. Providers can access a patient’s enterprise health record in Epic as the single source of information <strong>where they can see all clinical data and maintain consistent clinical workflows</strong> — whether an encounter takes place in person or via video.</p> <p>A key part of this strategy was to leverage our own platforms rather than partner with a third-party ­telemedicine vendor.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>READ MORE:</strong> Learn about the benefits of telemedicine for patients in rural areas.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Service and Specialties Get Expanded Upon</h2> <p>Consider NYU Langone’s <a href="" target="_blank">Virtual Urgent Care</a> service, which allows patients to log in to their MyChart account on the NYU Langone Health app to schedule an appointment, prepare for their visit, video chat with an NYU emergency medicine doctor and access their after-visit summary.</p> <p>All elements of a patient’s follow-up care — including medications, labs and referrals to NYU Langone specialists — are accessed and managed through MyChart. This leads to <strong>improved continuity of patient care</strong> as well as a single repository of the patient’s health data. It has also allowed us to create solutions that meet the needs of our current patients in more specific, personally tailored ways.Available to patients age 5 and up in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Florida, more than 10,000 Virtual Urgent Care visits have been completed since the service launched in 2017, and we’ve received positive feedback about the convenience, quality and access to care.</p> Dr. Paul Testa, Jason Sherwin