News from HIMSS: Hospitals Increasingly Using Connected Health Technologies, Study Finds

The use of mobile technology hasn’t precipitously risen in the healthcare industry like other sectors, but that’s all beginning to change, and this trend is likely to continue given the amount of money being poured into healthcare IT.

Hospitals are being encouraged to use technologies by insurance companies and a number of healthcare startups, and doctors and patients have responded positively to the increased use of monitoring and communication tools. Recent research found that hospitals are going to increase the use of these technologies, often combining them to make for a more efficient delivery of services.

Expanded Tech Landscape On the Horizon

A survey from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), in conjunction with Personal Connected Health Alliance, found that 52 percent of hospitals currently use threor more connected technologies, according to Healthcare IT News. The survey, released at the HIMSS16 conference in Las Vegas, also found that 47 percent of hospitals are looking to expand the technologies that are already in use.

Included in the technologies that were addressed in the survey were applications for patient engagement and education, mobile-optimized patient portals, remote monitoring devices that collect and aggregate patient data, telehealth, and messaging products. Healthcare IT News reported that the use of these connected health solutions has risen, and 81 percent of the respondents noted that their organization used at least one of these technologies.

Mobile-optimized patient portals were the most widespread of the technologies used by survey respondents, with 58 percent indicating that these products were used in some form within their organization.

Healthcare IT’s Importance Rising

The conference featured a showcase of a number of new technologies that are available to health professionals, and given the increasing rates of adoptions within hospitals nationwide, the presentations made quite an impact.

Among the IT leaders who were surveyed at the conference, 95 percent view health IT as a strategically critical tool to help with patient care and improved health outcomes, according to HIT Consultant. High percentages of respondents also felt that health IT would be a critically important tool for clinical integration (73 percent), primary care provider efficiency (72.3 percent), mandated quality metrics improvement (68.4 percent), and care coordination (67.4 percent).

Health IT is not only becoming more widely adopted within hospitals, but also it’s being adopted in conjunction with an expanded executive staff. Clinical IT executives are becoming more common, and many are bringing in new employees to help handle the rollout of IT products and services.

National Spotlight for Healthcare IT

This year’s conference also saw increased attention from the federal government, as the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell delivered the keynote at HIMSS16. Her appearance, just a week after President Barack Obama spoke to the importance of healthcare IT at a Precision Medicine event, signals that it’s not just private industry that has noticed the need for a revamped technology infrastructure within the healthcare industry.

Politico reported that the White House tapped the nation’s HER czar Karen DeSalvo to spearhead several initiatives related to healthcare IT, including a move toward alternative payment models.  

Given the increased attention being paid to healthcare IT, and the progress that has been attributed to technological advancements by healthcare executives, next year’s HIMSS conference could be an even bigger showcase of what’s to come in the industry.