HealthTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Healthcare en 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 Where Healthcare IT Security Falls Short <p>Bad actors are an increasing burden on healthcare providers. <strong>Seventy-eight percent</strong> of organizations have experienced a significant security incident <strong>in the past 12 months</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the latest HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey</a>.</p> <p>The good news: Many IT leaders are taking action. The report, released last year, found that <strong>38 percent</strong> of respondents plan to spend more to protect their devices, systems and infrastructure. Although all but <strong>4 percent</strong> conduct some form of security risk assessment, <strong>37 percent</strong> said they perform a comprehensive, end-to-end risk assessment — <strong>an</strong> <strong>11 percent increase over 2018</strong>.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>SUBSCRIBE:</strong> Become an Insider for access to exclusive HealthTech videos, white papers and articles.</em></a></p> <p>“From increasing the amounts allocated in IT budgets for cybersecurity activities to uniformity in security risk assessments, a growing wealth of cybersecurity resources are available for healthcare leadership to stay ahead of privacy and security threats,” Rod Piechowski, senior director of health information systems at HIMSS, said in a statement.</p> <p>Still, <strong>vulnerabilities remain</strong>. Survey responses from 166 U.S. healthcare IT professionals found that just more than one-third don’t conduct phishing tests — despite nearly twice that number (<strong>59 percent</strong>) citing email as the most common point of compromise. And <strong>20 percent</strong> consider “negligent insiders” a primary threat actor, underscoring the need for robust staff training.</p> <p>“<strong>Almost all attacks are going to involve a user at some point</strong>. It’s going to involve a user’s lack of understanding, lack of applying security rules … It’s unfortunate, but we’re all human,” Gabriel Whalen, CDW Principal Field Solution Architect, <a href="" target="_blank">said in August at the CDW Protect SummIT</a> in Philadelphia. “It’s up to us to be proactive and watch for those threats.”</p> <p>Likewise, nearly 7 in 10 respondents say their organization is <strong>still using legacy systems in some form</strong>. Their vulnerabilities can greatly increase the risk of a breach: “This is particularly significant in light of recent international cyberattacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya,” Piechowski said.</p> <p><strong>Is your organization at risk?<a href="" target="_blank"> &gt;&gt;&gt; Read this white paper that explains the value of a CDW Comprehensive Security Assessment.</a></strong></p> Kevin Joy 5 Things to Know About Software-Defined Networking <p>With a centralized dashboard that allows administrators to prioritize and provision applications and data packets on a network, software-defined networking (SDN) can provide healthcare organizations <a href="">some much-needed simplicity</a>. </p> <p>Deploying SDN <a href="" target="_blank">recently helped Proliance Surgeons</a> — a Seattle-based, physician-owned specialty surgery group — to gain greater visibility and control of more than 100 clinics and ambulatory surgery centers. The scalability of SDN also allows the growing business to anticipate future needs.</p> <p>Still, implementation of SDN requires stakeholder planning and a thorough understanding of the technology. <strong>Here’s what to know when exploring a rollout</strong>:</p> Joel Snyder What Is Software-Defined Networking and How Can It Help Your Business? <p>When <a href="" target="_blank">Proliance Surgeons</a> needed to keep pace with its growing infrastructure, the Seattle organization turned to software-defined networking (SDN).</p> <p>The physician-owned practice, which numbers <strong>2,400 employees across 100 clinics</strong> and ambulatory surgery centers, wanted to avoid network outages while a patient is receiving care from a technician.</p> <p>With the help of <a href="" target="_blank">Cisco</a>’s <a href="" target="_blank">Application Centric Infrastructure</a>, the companywide network is now able to “run faster, <a href="">with zero latency or hiccups</a>,” says Proliance CIO Curt Kwak. It also allows Proliance’s IT staff to quickly and accurately identify any problems with an application in real time.</p> <p>Such efficiencies support a greater mission, William Khampradith, enterprise security architect for Proliance, tells <em>HealthTech</em>.</p> <p>“The goal is to make sure the user has a good experience and the applications are functioning the way they should in both performance as well as security,” he says.</p> <p>Daniel McGinnis, senior director of data center marketing at Cisco Systems, called Proliance <strong>a “perfect example” of a distributed network using SDN</strong> — and a necessary solution for a fast-growing business. </p> <p>“Imagine 100 Proliance centers all acting, looking and working independently from one another and being managed individually,” McGinnis said. “It would be like having 100 different keys to get into each of those ambulatory centers, or 100 different managers managing each one of them with no single, standard operating procedure.”</p> Brian T. Horowitz The Smartwatch: Where Will It Go in 2020? <p>If there’s one thing the last decade has taught us, it’s that <strong>technology is everywhere</strong>, influencing every aspect of our lives. More specifically, it’s having an ever-growing impact on the healthcare industry and the delivery of care.</p> <p>Mobile devices such as tablets are being used as <a href="">distraction mechanisms</a> and to <a href="">improve patient experiences</a>. <a href="">Smart home technology</a> is helping seniors with disabilities to control their lights, thermostats and locks. Even drones are <a href="">being tested</a> to increase a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. </p> <p>These tech trends are likely to continue gaining steam in 2020 and throughout the new decade. However, one trend in particular stands out: <strong>the growing adoption of smartwatches for clinical use</strong>.</p> <p>A recent report <a href="" target="_blank">from Research and Markets</a> predicts sales of global wearable devices will exceed <strong>$60 billion by 2025</strong>, with the smartwatch segment expected to see the highest level of growth and command the market’s largest share.</p> <p>Today’s smartwatches are already helping patients in countless ways, from <a href="">reducing in-person medical visits</a> to <a href="" target="_blank">lowering healthcare costs</a>.</p> <p>Here’s what to watch for as smartwatch technology continues to evolve this year.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>DISCOVER: </strong>Five healthcare tech trends to watch in 2020.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">More Individuals Will Use Smartwatches for AFib Detection</h2> <p>Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is an irregular heart rhythm that can often lead to complications such as blood clots, heart failure and stroke.</p> <p>The underlying problem, however, is that roughly <strong>30 percent</strong> of individuals with AFib <a href="">go undiagnosed</a> until one of these life-threatening issues take place, making the need for early detection straightforward and necessary.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Apple</a> is one company that’s focused on early detection of the heart condition. Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine <a href="" target="_blank">recently shared</a> that the <a href="" target="_blank">Apple Watch</a>, which uses an optical sensor to analyze the wearer’s heart rate, <strong>has the capacity to accurately identify irregular heart rhythms</strong> that further testing confirmed to be AFib. <a href="" target="_blank">A separate study</a> submitted to the Food and Drug Administration further affirms that the device reliably detects the condition <strong>99 percent</strong> of the time.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Samsung</a> has taken a similar approach to Apple with the recent release of its <a href="" target="_blank">Galaxy Watch Active2</a>. In working to prevent the adverse effects of AFib, the company developed a device that will soon allow wearers to detect the heart condition through its electrocardiogram. Although the smartwatch is currently awaiting FDA clearance for EKG use, <a href="" target="_blank">SamMobile reports</a> the capability is slated for a February rollout.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>LEARN MORE: </strong>Find out how Ochsner Health uses the Apple Watch to keep patients healthy.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Heart Health Monitoring Won't Stop with EKGs</h2> <p>The shift by smartwatch makers away from fitness toward managing health conditions isn’t solely tied to AFib detection, although heart health is often the major area of focus. One beneficial clinical feature that’s just beginning to emerge is blood pressure monitoring.</p> <p>At the end of 2019, Omron Healthcare <a href="" target="_blank">announced the release</a> of their new HeartGuide, a smartwatch that is considered to be the first clinically validated, wearable blood pressure monitor. The watch works much like traditional blood pressure cuffs — <strong>it relies on its own inflatable cuff positioned within the watch’s band</strong> to take accurate blood pressure readings. </p> <p>Wearers of this watch can easily track and manage their blood pressure via an app on their smartphone. The device shows particular promise for individuals with high blood pressure, as they can share the data with their doctor to make sure measurements don’t fall outside of a healthy range.</p> <p>Samsung and AT&amp;T are also <a href="" target="_blank">exploring ways</a> to monitor blood pressure remotely. While Samsung has generally relied upon the sensors in its Galaxy Watch Active to do so, AT&amp;T has teamed up with OneLife Technologies to launch the OnePulse smartwatch.</p> <p>Although the device doesn’t take blood pressure measurements on its own, <strong>it can be paired via Bluetooth with other connected medical devices</strong>, such as blood pressure cuffs and glucometers, to collect accurate patient readings. </p> <p>As 2020 progresses, expect more smartwatch manufacturers to build and expand upon these types of capabilities as they attempt to further bridge the gap into the medical space.</p> Andrew Steger