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Survey: 81 Percent of Healthcare CIOs Cite Data Security as Top Priority

November 1, 2016
by Heather Landi
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Eighty-one percent of CIOs surveyed said that strengthening data security was their top business goal for the next 18 months, ahead of increasing patient satisfaction (70 percent) and improving physician satisfaction (65 percent), according to survey findings resulted by Spok.

For the survey, which was administered by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), 100 healthcare CIOS were polled about the progress of their mobility strategy planning, big-picture goals, the use-cases driving their mobile app selections, and which common workflows they are focused on improving. The survey by enterprise communications vendor Spok was designed to identify the business goals and technology drivers of mobile workflow investments in hospitals across the country as well as adoption rates of mobile communications.

With regard to business goals that are top-of-mind, following the top three, CIOs also cited complying with federal regulations/keeping up with ongoing changes, maximizing electronic health record (EHR) integrations with other hospital systems and standardizing technology (within hospitals and across systems, all at 44 percent. Thirty-one percent of respondents cited integrating hospital communication systems so they can share information as the seventh highest business goal.

When making communications-related technology investment decisions, healthcare CIO respondents cited the ability for technologies to best meet clinician/organizational needs as the most important factor, as it was chosen by 82 percent respondents. Eighty percent of respondents cited “ease of use for end user such as a physician or nurse,” as an important factor in the decision process. The ability for technologies to integrate with current systems, such as EHR systems, ranked third with 75 percent of respondents citing this as a factor in the decision-making process.

CIOs frequently look for tools and technologies to improve workflows. When asked which workflows within their hospital or health system were top of mind to support with better tools, 67 percent noted “care team coordination for treatment planning” The next three workflows cited relate to patient processing—48 percent cited patient discharge, 46 percent noted patient handoffs within hospitals and 40 percent cited patient handoffs between health services and facilities.

When asked specifically what technology use cases are driving their mobile application deployments, these executives cited secure messaging/communication capabilities as a top priority (84 percent), followed very closely by EHR access and integration (83 percent).

Sixty eight percent of survey respondents said that implementing secure text messaging is an active project, and 53 percent have an enterprise mobility management, or EMM, solution to further enhance patient data security on mobile devices.

The technology leaders responding to the survey also were polled about how they would describe their EMM solution deployment. Sixteen percent said their EMM solution is being piloted with select groups of employees, 43 percent reported that one is currently being deployed, 14 percent said that it is deployed enterprise-wide with little to modest adoption, and 27 percent reported that they are in a mature phase with the solution deployed across the enterprise and extensively adopted. What are they using the EMM solution for? Ninety-one percent said it is for securing data on devices and 70 percent use their EMM for application and content deployment, saving time for IT during new deployments, patches, and upgrades.

When polled about reasons or constraints for not using an EMM, about half cited cost or available budget as a constraint, and 44 percent said they lack the resources to plan, test, and implement this technology.

Drilling down into communications-related technology, respondents were asked specifically about hospital system integrations with the communications infrastructure. The most common integration reported by survey participants is with the EHR (73 percent). Secure text messaging, at 54 percent, is second on the list of communication system integrations. “In this case, respondents were most likely interpreting the technology as being a stand-alone messaging application and not extending beyond person-to-person use cases to integrations with other systems, which were separately ranked for integrations with the communication infrastructure,” the report authors wrote.

These other technologies were ranked as follows: emergency response (36 percent), patient monitoring (36 percent), critical test results (31 percent), bed management (31 percent), staff contact directory (30 percent), operator console (29 percent), and on-call scheduling (26 percent).

The CIO survey respondents cited physician adoption as both the primary challenge (60 percent) and the primary success measure (78 percent) for secure text messaging solution rollouts. An increase in user satisfaction were chosen by 63 percent of respondents as a success measure for secure text messaging solution implementations.

When survey participants were asked specifically why physicians were resistant to adopting a specific secure text messaging app, 44 percent said their doctors preferred a consumer app, 35 percent were frustrated with the chosen app, 29 percent had reservations about their personal privacy in ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) scenarios, and 24 percent still preferred pagers. “The first two challenges are closely related; physicians have smartphones for personal use and have exposure to user-friendly consumer technologies. This sets an expectation for hospital-approved messaging apps to offer the same simplicity, and there is frustration when they don’t mimic the same features and capabilities,” the report authors wrote.

The survey findings also measured the level of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) participation IT experts support within their organizations. According to the survey, 41 percent have enterprise-wide BYOD programs allowing all employees and staff to participate, while 44 percent say only certain groups of employees or staff can participate. And, in a breakdown on which groups are permitted to use their personal devices, the survey results indicate that BYOD is allowed for physicians 85 percent of the time, administrators 72 percent, IT staff 63 percent, and nursing staff 17 percent.

CIO respondents also were asked which topics would be the most important three years from now. Patient-centered care and EHR integrations top the list at 29 and 21 percent, respectively. Additionally, 18 percent cited “business intelligence” and 13 percent noted “telemedicine” and “mHealth” as their predictions for the most important topic in three years. Only 7 percent of respondents cited artificial intelligence.

The report authors concluded, “The challenge for IT leadership is to promote solutions that offer multiple advantages to help entice adoption —multi-purpose tools that can save physicians time, enhance patient safety, make existing workflows easier, and more. And leaders are balancing the needs and requests of today with an anticipation that patient-centered care is the future.”

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LabCorp Joins Apple Health Records Project

November 5, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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LabCorp, a provider of clinical laboratory and end-to-end drug development services, has announced that it has enabled Apple’s Health Records feature for its patients.

This iPhone feature aims to make it easier for LabCorp patients to access their LabCorp laboratory test results, along with other available medical data from multiple providers, whenever they choose, according to officials.

In January, Apple announced that it would be testing the Health Records feature out with 12 hospitals, inclusive of some of the most prominent healthcare institutions in the U.S. Since that time, more than 100 new organizations have joined the project,  according to Apple.

LabCorp test results are viewable in the Apple Health app for LabCorp patients who have an account with the company, and enable integration with the Health Records app. In addition to their LabCorp test results, patients will have information from participating healthcare institutions organized into one view, covering allergies, medical conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and vitals.

Patients will receive notifications when their data is updated, and the Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID or Face ID, according to officials.

“LabCorp on Health Records will help provide healthcare consumers with a more holistic view of their health. Laboratory test results are central to medical decision making, and broadening access to this information will help patients take charge of their health and wellness, and lead to more informed dialogues between patients and their healthcare providers,” David P. King, chairman and CEO of LabCorp, said in a statement.

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HIMSS Analytics Introduces Infrastructure Adoption Model for Health Systems

October 25, 2018
by Rajiv Leventhal, Managing Editor
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HIMSS Analytics, the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, announced the introduction of the Infrastructure Adoption Model, or INFRAM, which is designed to measure the technical infrastructure used within a health system.

The INFRAM focuses on five technical subdomains, allowing organizations to benchmark how their infrastructure operates within the following areas: mobility; security; collaboration; transport; and data center.

Similar to HIMSS Analytics’ well-known Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model, or, EMRAM, the INFRAM is an eight-stage model (0 – 7) that allows healthcare IT leaders to map the technology infrastructure capabilities required to reach their facility’s clinical and operational goals, while meeting industry benchmarks and standards.  The final stage, Stage 7, guides organizations towards optimized information integration, contextualization and orchestration essential for the delivery of higher order local and virtualized care processes.

For reference purposes, Stage 0 on the model represents that an organization does not have a VPN, intrusion detection/prevention, security policy, data center or compute architecture. Stage 3 signifies that an organization has an advanced intrusion prevention system, while Stage 5 represents having video on mobile devices, location-based messaging, firewall with advanced malware protection, and real-time scanning of email hyperlinks.

HIMSS officials note that by identifying specific benchmarks for organizations to reach before they go live with EMR, systems, the INFRAM aims to ensure that a health system’s infrastructure is stable, manageable and extensible. Through this, organizations can ideally improve care delivery and create a pathway for infrastructure development tied to business and clinical outcomes.

 “The INFRAM is a welcome addition to our maturity model suite and addresses a longstanding need – guiding healthcare organizations in securely implementing the infrastructure with which their EMRs are built upon,” Blain Newton, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics, said in a statement. “We have seen health systems engage with advanced clinical applications, only for them to ‘glitch’ under infrastructure that isn't powerful enough to support their tools. With the INFRAM, healthcare providers can develop a detailed, strategic technology plan that defines their organization's current state, desired future state, and each stage in between to achieve their clinical and operational goals.”

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Clinical Team Communication and Data Access in the Palm of Your Hand

Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 1:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. CT

Eisenhower Health, a west coast-based Magnet Hospital, implemented an enterprise-wide solution enabling mobile communications and collaboration across all care teams, linking the entire enterprise, advancing its communications capabilities, creating access to an enterprise directory, and improving care team response and turnaround times.

Additionally, the system provided extensive and comprehensive reporting with data analytics showing where and to what extent response improvements were made, but also providing the information the hospital needed to better utilize the system and make adjustments to improve results.

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