Opportunities and Challenges in Healthcare Information Technology

| May 9, 2016

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PURPOSE: To examine the opportunities and challenges in healthcare delivery in the information technology age. To explore ways to leverage technology to improve healthcare. BACKGROUND: Numerous Health Information Technology (Health IT) innovations exist to monitor health and fitness and improve health outcomes, including electronic health records, wearable devices, apps, and next generation medical devices. Despite the promise of Health IT, barriers exist to development and adoption, such as lack of coordination among state and federal regulators, interoperability, and an outdated/inconsistent regulatory framework.

Spotlight

HealthONE

HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with more than 10,000 employees. As part of the HealthONE family, The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital work together to provide a higher level of care. In addition, our family of services includes six hospital free-standing emergency departments and numerous ambulatory surgery centers, occupational medicine clinics, physician practices, imaging centers, and AIRLIFE-DENVER, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region.

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Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Transforming the Future of Healthcare

Article | December 29, 2020

Virtual reality (VR), the new technological advancement, is set to transform practices in the healthcare industry. According to Statista, it is estimated that, by 2022, the second largest market share of VR will be from the healthcare industry. Virtual reality in healthcare operates in various divisions to offer a greater quality of patient care and performance of medical professionals. For the health and healthcare industry, from the clinical process to the user, VR has a multitude of applications such as tutoring future doctors, generating new life-saving routines, etc. Virtual reality in healthcare can confront the challenges in the industry, including efficiently handling huge healthcare databases, training and development of medical professionals, patient engagement, disease awareness, medical marketing, patient treatment, etc. Virtual reality in the healthcare market, according to a report from Reports and Data, is expected to reach USD 8.03 billion by 2027 from USD 2.06 billion in 2019. This article discusses how virtual reality in healthcare is going to transform the industry by applying it in various divisions such as medical training, patient treatment, patient engagement, disease awareness, and medical marketing. Virtual Reality in Healthcare Training VR in healthcare can transport you to areas, inside of the human body, that otherwise would be impossible to access and view. Medical students currently use cadavers to learn, but cadavers do not react the same way live patients do. Also, cadavers are very difficult to get hold of. When VR is used in healthcare training, students can view even minute detail of all parts of the body. This view is possible in stunning 360° CGI reconstruction and creates training scenarios, which would replicate real surgical procedures. Virtual Reality in healthcare can be used to deliver high-quality surgical training. Using virtual reality, 4K 360° video of real-life surgery is filmed from multiple angles. Then it is combined with CGI models of the anatomy, which is being operated. This advanced use of virtual reality in healthcare provides medical students with an interactive and immersive training experience. Treatment Patient Education The ability of virtual reality in healthcare to see inside of the human body is useful for both doctors and patients. With the help of VR, doctors can take patients through their surgical plan. This is made possible by a virtual view of the anatomy and pathology of patients through a patient-specific 360° VR reconstruction. The result of this is an enhanced understanding of the treatment for patients and higher patient satisfaction. Robotic Surgery Robotic surgery is a recent innovation. A robotic device, such as a robotic arm, is used in a robotic surgery while being controlled by a human surgeon. This utilization of virtual reality in healthcare makes sure of fewer or no risk of complications in surgeries. This also makes the surgeon finish the surgery procedure faster with greater accuracy. The robotic devices are accurate with reduced blood loss, smaller incisions, and faster recovery. Mental Health and Psychological Therapy The unique ability of virtual reality technology to take you anywhere virtually can be utilized to create a powerful virtual reality simulation in healthcare of various scenarios in which psychological issues occur. This eliminates the necessity of a therapist accompanying patients to various scenarios such as a tall building or a crowded shopping center to provide proper counseling. These scenarios can be easily created with virtual reality technology in healthcare. Virtual reality in healthcare market has also been used to help autistic children in the classroom, curb memory loss, and gather data for dementia research. Pain Management and Physical Therapy Apart from psychological issues, the healing capabilities of VR are also used in pain management and physical treatment. According to a study by the UW Harborview Burn Centre and the University of Washington Seattle, a full VR immersion acted as a distraction for patients, who were undergoing physical therapy after a skin graft. This distraction subsequently reduced their feeling of pain. Virtual reality in healthcare is also found to be effective in reducing recovery time in physical therapy. Patients performing their daily exercises in a virtual environment, find the task to be more fun than usual. It also keeps the patients focused and helps them keep their spirits up and recover sooner. Patient Engagement With the help of virtual reality in healthcare, patients can experience a virtual tour of the inside of their bodies before surgeries. This is a 360-degree, three-dimensional (3D) tour. This enables patients to know their body, anatomy, and pathology, before the surgical procedures. Virtual Reality Medical Visualization platform is developed for the tour. These advancements with virtual reality in healthcare engage patients thoroughly, which reduces tension and lead to a speedy recovery. Medical Marketing The most popular and initial application of Virtual reality was marketing. Still, it continues to be one of the most effective and powerful marketing tools. The ability to use VR to project the future of healthcare is the most powerful tactic in healthcare marketing. With Virtual reality in healthcare, one of the most powerful tactics that you can have to market in the industry is to show people what changes they can expect when they start or stop exercising, lose or gain weight, the progress they make through cancer treatments, etc. As the possibilities of virtual reality in healthcare are endless, healthcare professionals and providers can attract more patients, doctors with high caliber, and nursing staff to your facilities. When those are in short supply, virtual reality in healthcare can be used as an excellent healthcare marketing tool to ensure expected results. Disease Awareness AbbVie, a pharmaceutical research & development company, created an experience to educate medical professionals and raise awareness among them regarding the daily struggle Parkinson’s disease patients undergo. The experience was demonstrated at a pharmaceutical industry trade show. People put on a headset and experienced how Parkinson’s sufferers navigate a virtual supermarket, meeting with difficult moments when they come in contact with other people. Such experiences with virtual reality in healthcare help raise awareness for various diseases among professionals and patients. Virtual reality presentations can be conducted to raise awareness of certain diseases. The Future of Virtual Reality in Healthcare A lot of applications of virtual reality in healthcare are in their nascent stage. In the coming years, virtual reality will be used more in healthcare, which will improve the effectiveness and accuracy of present procedures. It will also enhance the various human capabilities, for both patients and medical professionals. Virtual reality in healthcare has huge potential, but only limited by the ingenuity and creativity of people who create and apply the technology. VR will surely transform medical training, physical and psychological therapies, rehabilitation, mental health treatments, and patient engagement, among others. Virtual reality in healthcare holds the power to transform the way doctors are trained and treatment is provided to patients. According to reports from various market research companies, especially research done by Grand View Research, predict that, by 2025, virtual reality in the healthcare market will grow to a whopping US$5.1 billion. The major driving forces behind this growth are Rapid technological advancements in the healthcare industry and driving demand for rehabilitation and simulation training. Frequently asked questions How is virtual reality used in healthcare? In healthcare, virtual reality is used in treatment, training, and to raise awareness among medical professionals and patients regarding various diseases. Patients and doctors are made to view the inside of the human body using virtual reality. Where is virtual reality used in healthcare? Virtual reality is used in various sectors of healthcare to deliver high quality patient care. Treatment with the assistance of virtual reality also increases the efficiency of medical professionals. Virtual treating is applied in all aspects of medical treatment. What are the benefits of virtual reality? Virtual reality in healthcare saves both, the time and money of healthcare providers. It also makes the work of medical professionals more convenient. It eliminates unnecessary travel for treatments by making appropriate decisions. How virtual reality is changing healthcare? Virtual reality is changing the healthcare by providing different advanced ways of treatments, especially for physical and psychological therapy, surgeries, pain management, and stress management and by assisting the rehabilitation process effectively.

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How Blockchain Technology Will Improve Mobile Healthcare

Article | March 27, 2020

The key concerns of healthcare management today are data processing and data security. Patients don’t have full ownership of their medical records, and are unable to control how their information is updated. There isn’t enough transparency to the process. There are also significant concerns related to data security, especially in the areas of personalized medicine and the rise of wearables. Patients and medical staff need secure and straightforward ways to record data, send it over networks, and receive advice without security concerns. Blockchain technology can help solve these problems. Introduced in 2008 as a means of recording cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a distributed cloud-based ledger that offers the ability to verify the origin of data and prevent breaches. When a user wants to make a transaction, they issue a request signed with their private key. The network verifies its authenticity by using a public key. If the verification is successful, the transaction is broadcast to the network and included in a block. The network of “miners” solves the block to get a reward, and once the block is revealed, it is added to the blockchain, making it permanent. It’s impossible to introduce new information in a block unnoticed, because that would change the structure of the entire chain. This feature makes the system safe and transparent.

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Artificial Intelligence Adoption in Healthcare

Article | February 10, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) – long an impactful technology in other industries – is in the midst of rapid adoption across the healthcare industry. What was once seen as having great potential is now making its way to real-world implementation, driving improvements in care through enhanced clinical decision support, empowering payers, providers and healthcare organizations across the ecosystem with actionable insight. Patient-generated behavioral data is becoming increasingly common for care management. Smart gadgets such as Fitbits, smartphones and other wearable sensors collect patients’ data, helping patients and physicians better understand habits and set realistic healthcare goals.

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Identity + RBAC Tighten Security in Healthcare

Article | March 6, 2020

As worries about coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) mount daily, healthcare and health care organizations work valiantly to deliver quality healthcare. Potential exposure of health care workers to COVID-19 risks further shortages of hospital staff and clinical service providers. This presents a security challenge in rapidly authorizing individuals to fill needed roles as they are temporarily vacated. Role-based access control (RBAC) has long been the standard many organizations adhere to when establishing security and limiting access to resources. In a rapidly changing environment RBAC alone falls short of meeting data privacy and security needs. Implementation of role-based access controls (RBAC) alone no longer aligns with the needs of modern healthcare or the incorporation of cloud software and ecosystems. RBAC indicates the use of static roles and groups to restrict access to sensitive data and critical systems with a set it and forget it mindset. In the past RBAC alone was sufficient, but cloud migration strategies and a fluid workforce require time-bound access to maintain proper governance. Healthcare organizations have a dynamic structure and must accommodate individuals working in varying shifts, multiple clinics, or research areas, which requires shifting permissions depending on their duties at a given time. RBAC alone simply cannot keep pace with modern healthcare security needs.

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Spotlight

HealthONE

HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with more than 10,000 employees. As part of the HealthONE family, The Medical Center of Aurora, North Suburban Medical Center, Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Rose Medical Center, Sky Ridge Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, and Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital work together to provide a higher level of care. In addition, our family of services includes six hospital free-standing emergency departments and numerous ambulatory surgery centers, occupational medicine clinics, physician practices, imaging centers, and AIRLIFE-DENVER, which provides critical care air and ground transportation across a 10-state region.

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