5G & Healthcare. Huge Boon for Providers, Impractical or Ho-hum?

It’s a fact. The more bandwidth-intensive connected medical devices and mobile devices our hospitals deploy, the more we are straining our health IT infrastructures. Something has to give. Many communications leaders see 5G technology’s real-time high bandwidth and lower latency access as powerful new technology features that are needed to expand healthcare applications’ capabilities and the functioning of medical devices, robotics, and mobile devices. Some say 5G will be transformative. Others say it won’t be sufficiently transportable geographically to achieve the high goals promised by carrier companies. And… rumbling in the background are the outlier worries that 5G itself could be a health risk that matters more than technology advances.

Here’s what you should know.



The Healthcare IT Staffing Shortage Is Moving into High Gear…Here’s Why

While it’s great news that healthcare jobs will be among the fastest growing through 2026, the plethora of jobs is a double-edged sword. The projected supply of qualified workers will not fill the demand,  and as any hospital CIO can attest, the shortage of qualified workers in healthcare IT is nearly as worrisome as the growing paucity of clinical professionals. Staffing shortages have plagued the healthcare industry for years,  but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment projections for 2016 to 2026, the demands will grow to crisis levels in many states. Healthcare is projected to add nearly 4 million jobs during the period, about one-third of all new jobs — making it our largest sector.  Healthcare technology jobs are a big piece of the pie, primarily because of the proliferation of EHRs and innovations in a variety of other computer technologies, plus the accompanying surge of cybercrime. Here’s what you should know based on the latest statistics.



The 2019 Invasion of Disruptors in Healthcare (Part 2) — Google, Lyft, Uber, IBM

In a post last month, we took a quick tour of the inroads that Amazon and Apple are making into mainstream healthcare. In a recent survey of its 1500 members, the Healthcare Executives Group reported that these moves are making many traditional healthcare leaders nervous, noting that 32 percent of respondents anticipate that “disrupting current business models” will greatly impact healthcare in 2019.  Amazon and Apple aren’t alone on this track; others including Google, Lyft, Uber, and IBM are also investing in innovative new ventures to take advantage of our lucrative industry.  Let’s take a look at their latest initiatives:



The 2019 Invasion of Disruptors in Healthcare (Part 1) — Amazon and Apple

What have those upstart megaliths like Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart, Lyft and Uber been toying with lately to disrupt our traditional healthcare models?  From all appearances, they’re not wasting time; instead, several recent aggressive moves are making many traditional healthcare providers and payers nervous. For the first time “external market disruption” appeared among the Healthcare Executives Group’s top ten concerns in its annual research survey of members. With a membership of over 1500 payer and provider executives, the HCEG reported that 32 percent of respondents anticipate that “disrupting current business models” will have the greatest impact on healthcare in 2019.  What disruptors in healthcare are keeping these healthcare executives up at night? Let’s take a look at the latest initiatives of the commercial giants who are putting the most money behind strategies to transform the healthcare industry.

This two-part series begins with an overview of Amazon and Apple’s activities, often in concert with other organizations. Next month’s Part 2 will review the initiatives of Google, Walmart, Lyft, Uber, and IBM.



How Patient Portals Are Failing Healthcare — And Our Patients

Healthcare consumers range from tech-savvy millennials accustomed to quick click-throughs to straight answers — to patients with little confidence or competence in computing tools. In either case, just three words can summarize the potential value-added of patient portals to consumers: ease of communications, fast solutions and efficient chronic disease management — but only if the portals are actually integrated into patients’ lives.  Similarly, healthcare providers can achieve at least three big benefits from patients’ portal-usage: greater efficiencies, cost-savings and improved health outcomes — again, only if patients use their portals. But with only 20% of patients regularly relying on portals, many benefits have been unattainable. Why are most portals realizing so little of their promise?



Hospital Cybersecurity 2019: Seven Essential Leadership-Level Strategies

Dangerous cybersecurity attacks have become a sweeping problem across our healthcare industry, with most hospitals having experienced not one or two, but many threats in the last three years. It wasn’t that long ago when the most common perpetrator of security breaches was a negligent employee. But the majority of threats now are from cybercriminals and other malicious actors, according to the 2019 HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey published last month. The good news is that many hospitals have conceded that these risks are not going away and are investing in tenacious battles against cybercrime. We’ve gathered data from a variety of hospitals detailing innovative and aggressive strategies they are using to minimize if not eliminate significant security incidents.



Meet us at HIMSS19! Ranked #1, Phoenix staff will fix your broken IT support.

The annual HIMSS conference is highly anticipated to offer intriguing glimpses of transformative technologies and IT approaches that will shape the future of healthcare. This year’s gathering in Orlando promises to do the same.

But without innovative corrections of IT-related adversities currently troubling your hospital, advances can be difficult.  

BlackBook Medals - 2017-18 -hi res2It is no secret that many clinicians resent EHR investments and workflow tools that seem counterproductive…or they are convinced that IT gets in the way of clinician-patient relationships instead of supporting them. The last thing they think is needed is more IT.

Often, the underlying problem is dysfunctional IT support or inadequate optimization of recently implemented EHRs and other IT applications. Or both.

Phoenix specializes in helping hospitals stabilize and strengthen their IT foundations so that they will get the most from their information systems and be ready to take on ever more sophisticated, transformational initiatives. We have 20+ years of experience providing an array of hospital IT support, strategic consulting, project management and IT department outsourcing solutions. We have been ranked #1 nationwide — two years in a row — by Black Book Research for our superior results and client satisfaction.

Vendor-independent, we work as objective partners of our hospital clients, whether leading implementations, optimizing systems for greater efficiencies and usability, or via application / infrastructure monitoring and Service Desk support. We are experienced in all major EHR platforms.

We work to eliminate non-productivity, disconnects between processes and systems, user dissatisfaction and unnecessary costs. We are committed to the growth and prosperity of our clients through times of transformation and modernization — and during financial and operational difficulties.

If you are attending HIMSS19, we invite you to personally meet with us to learn how our top-ranked hospital IT support services firm will help your hospital resolve existing IT issues so you can move into your future.

Either contact us here for a meeting time…

OR, email Doug Etue directly at doug.etue@phoenixhealth.com


How Patient Portals Can Do Much More for Healthcare Quality and Costs – Part 1

This is the first in a two-part series on how to make the most of patient portals to improve patient engagement, and simultaneously improve care management and financial outcomes. Thanks to the PolitDoc Team for their permission to publish excerpts from their recent post.

The implementation of Meaningful Use sent providers scrambling to implement patient portals to provide patients access to their health information — AND to reap the program’s financial incentives.  Unfortunately, many providers set up portals only as a compliance measure, without considering how patients and overall healthcare could benefit from them.  By not applying thoughtful patient-oriented design and functionality, these providers are missing a significant opportunity to enhance patients’ experience and to improve both clinical and financial outcomes. And so only about 20 percent of patients actually use portals, Mary Pratt writes in Medical Economics, and lack of vision, poor design and insufficient functionality are big reasons. Why must this change?



Blockchain: Its Future in Healthcare is Happening Now

Interoperability. Healthcare cost savings. Data security. Healthcare innovation…and blockchain. Today it’s difficult to talk about any of these hot topics without hearing about the others.

Systems interoperability that would provide nationwide access to a common database of health information — no matter what EHR is used — is healthcare’s holy grail. Healthcare leaders, physicians, medical researchers and yes, patients, are frustrated by our inability to share the massive healthcare information we collect via our millions of data systems, and do so less expensively and more securely. Many technology leaders think blockchain will disrupt this inefficient status quo and even revolutionize healthcare. Is blockchain just another tech pipedream du jour? It seems not. A significant number of hospital leaders are already blazing the trail with blockchain solutions. Here’s what you should know.



The Potential of BlockChain in Healthcare

Many healthcare leaders are betting on the potential of blockchain to enable reliable ways for health professionals to safely track, analyze and use health information across disparate providers and systems. The global healthcare blockchain market is estimated to experience double-digit growth to $5.61 billion by 2025, according to an April 2018 report from ResearchAndMarkets.com. IBM Watson Health has reached an agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the potential benefits of blockchain for the healthcare industry. Mayo Clinic just signed a joint working agreement with Medicalchain chain to collaborate on initiatives to “explore the potential benefits of blockchain technology in healthcare.” Blockchain is expected to solve many issues that plague our data-siloed industry.

It’s time for you to know more about blockchain.