Cybersecurity and health buy hydrocodone breaches have long been the source of concern for me (and should be for most other physicians and health marketers)

In 2010 I addressed this in Throughout the years, it was the focus in:

Now a Healthcare IT News survey finds that these are issues are important and healthcare organizations are now investing in it with artificial intelligence and prescriptive analytics. The need for greater protection  in the cloud is finally dawning as collections of data online are mounting!

Results from “2017: The Year Ahead in Health IT”

This is a new survey of healthcare organizations issued by Healthcare IT News after polling 95 healthcare executives in October 2016.

Q. Which technologies are they planning to upgrade to  in 2017?

A. 52%  said security was their topmost priority.  Then:

  •      51% said analytics
  •     4%  patient engagement
  •     44% population health
  •      31% percent EHRs
  •      24% remote patient monitoring
  •       22% revenue cycle management

Joe Fisne, associate chief information officer at Geisinger Health System, states:

“From the standpoint of security being No. 1, it certainly is one of the most critical things in healthcare today,” Fisne said. “We are in an age where technology has extended so far into the realm of healthcare that it has become one of the most critical things, so the heightened need for security follows. And analytics is key, as well. We are investing in some of the Big Data platforms to take information and demonstrate trends, practices and patterns of care, as well as patterns of illness along the way. And that goes hand in hand with population health.”



On the extremely important cybersecurity front, application security and network security top the list of areas of focus for 2017, according to the survey. Following are security issues healthcare organizations face in 2017, the percent of survey respondents that leans toward labeling the issues a lower priority, the percent that labels the issues smack in the middle on the priority scale, and the percent that leans toward labeling the issues a higher priority, the survey found (totals may not add up to 100% due to rounding):

Review the full survey results… 

Like cybersecurity, interoperability is a major subject of concern for healthcare organizations. According to the survey, interoperability projects healthcare organizations will be working on in 2017 include connecting to external databases, such as health information exchanges (65 percent); connecting applications within the organization (58 percent); and adding connections from medical devices to existing systems (37 percent).

Asked to identify the single biggest inhibitor to greater interoperability in 2017, 40 percent of survey respondents said a lack of industrywide standards, 27 percent EHR vendors, 18 percent a culture of data hoarding, 12 percent financial concerns, and 3 percent other issues.

Some of the other issues, which may be profound, include making a strong business case for interoperability, said Halamka of Beth Israel Deaconess System.

“I have never seen information blocking when there is a combination of a business case for sharing information and competent technical people,” he said. “I only see it when there is a lack of alignment to share data. The data standards we have today are quite sufficient and EHRs are quite sufficient. Meaningful use gave us the standards and interoperability constructs. It’s just the motivation to move forward.”

One of the biggest areas of investment in health IT appears to be analytics. Asked about their analytics plans for 2017, 24 percent of healthcare organizations said they are planning to launch a new analytics system, 59 percent are adding tools to existing analytics systems, only 8 percent have completed their analytics deployment, and a mere 9 percent do not have analytics in their 2017 plans, according to the Healthcare IT News survey.

According to the survey, of those organizations working with analytics

  • 76% feel that analytics technology will help improve the quality of healthcare
  • 67% expect it will help enhance the ways in which care is delivered
  • 62% expect it will help reduce healthcare costs
  • 52% expect it will help successfully manage the shift from fee-for-service care to value-based care
  • 30% expect it will help free up time for caregivers to spend with patients
  • 1% does not use analytics

“The consistent trend across many of these technology categories, including analytics and population health, is that larger organizations have put in place the first wave of solutions, this already has happened,” said Kalis of Accenture. “Now, these organizations are optimizing their investments and adding to them to maximize the value of the foundation already in place.”

Looking forward, healthcare organizations have a variety of emerging technologies in the pipeline. Asked which emerging technologies they are planning to invest in during 2017, 63 percent of survey respondents said prescriptive analytics, 34 percent artificial intelligence, 21 percent genomics tools, 21 percent machine learning, 19 percent cognitive computing, and 6 percent Blockchain.

Kalis of Accenture agreed that prescriptive analytics is a big next step for healthcare organizations.

“Health systems have invested in putting some of the foundational building blocks of analytics in place; the emerging technology here, prescriptive analytics, is the next step of trying to derive insights from the information and foundational assets in place,” Kalis said. “Also interesting from this list is the fact that Blockchain is even on the radar of some CIOs; it’s telling that there is interest in exploration to understand where Blockchain platforms can be applied and what the implications can be long term.”

While analytics and engagement of health information is key as we move forward in healthcare, it is paramount that we take the necessary steps to ensure its safety as well!

Have you encrypted your health data online?

What steps have you taken.  Share them in the comment box below.