Historically, the medical industry was a technology foot-dragger, but mobile and wearable technologies have now made it the hot game in town.
About 12 years ago I was tasked to write an article on health care. My research included office interviews with some local physicians for a personal, in-depth approach. Their bottom line was consistent. If a new technology added even minimal time to their hectic weekly schedules, it would not be adopted. HIPPA compliancy plus secure and accurate patient records were also essential. These three requirements still top the list today.
My published article featured a university-affiliated hospital that had implemented Wi-Fi when it was still considered bleeding edge. The reason was simple. Portable units allowed the doctors and staff to login and move about the building freely without having to login/logout to a wired PC when visiting each patient’s room. The time savings were substantial and validated the position that the medical community would adopt new technologies if they fit the requirements.
Today’s tablets, smartphones and smart glasses make the technologies of the 20th Century look like dinosaurs but by adding 21st Century technologies many vendors have evolved their offerings and avoided extinction. The Holter monitor, a portable ECG, is an excellent example. They have evolved from uncomfortable heavy devices using audiocassette storage to compact units with flash memory and 21st Century communications. The updates have extended the monitoring time from one or two days to several weeks. Data can now be uploaded using a patient’s smartphone, minimizing office visits and cost. One of my neighbors is currently wearing a Holter monitor, triggering its inclusion in this column.
Fax is still required by many health care and financial applications due to its communications security, time stamping, and legal document status. However, noting industry concerns regarding the security of patient data, Tom Linhard, president of FaxCore (News - Alert) Inc., mandated that document encryption be added to its product. Now, confidential patient information included in faxed documents can remain secure even if a health care facility experiences a data breach.
A recently developed Google (News - Alert) Glass app by Augmedix enters electronic health record data while doctors visit patients. The company claims that less than 1 percent of the records created required edits by the interviewing doctors. Perhaps the hospital I covered previously will be an early adopter.
Max Schroeder is Vice President Emeritus of FaxCore Inc. (www.faxcore.com) and managing director of the DPCF.
Edited by Maurice Nagle