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Social Media Tips for #HIMSS16 – More Than Just Tweets

Posted on February 12, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The massive HIMSS 2016 Annual Conference is just around the corner and I’ll be participating in it in a big way like usual. I already posted about the 7th Annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS and my session with Shahid Shah on “Marketing to Customers in an Uncertain Healthcare IT Marketplace“. Would love to see any and all of you at those events. I was also blessed to be selected as a HIMSS 2016 Social Media Ambassador (Maybe I should have said #HIMSS16 instead of HIMSS 2016). It’s an amazing group of people and so I feel so thankful to be in such great company.

It’s been fun to watch the evolution of social media at HIMSS. I’m sure one day my kids will look back and say “weren’t you one of the pioneers that use to use that old platform called Twitter which we read about in our history books?” I’ll be happy to say Yes!

Next week Shahid and I are doing a webinar on “Why Don’t People Care About What You’re Selling at HIMSS?” and this is one piece of a slide we’ve been preparing for that webinar:

HIMSS Social Media Growth

That’s incredible growth. In fact, I just did a quick query and there have already been 35k tweets to the #HIMSS16 hashtag and we’re still over 2 weeks away from the event. The explosion of social media sharing that happens during the 5 days of the event hasn’t even started. That’s some extraordinary growth, but that also means there’s a lot more noise.

While Twitter is a fantastic tool, there’s much more to social media than just Twitter. In fact, because Twitter has become so popular (see graphic above), your investment in other social media platforms are likely as important as your investment in Twitter. Let me cover some other social media avenues you might consider using before, during, and after HIMSS.

Side Note: Before I cover the non-Twitter social media options you might consider, I want to mention that Twitter is still extremely powerful. My mention of other social platforms isn’t to diminish the power of Twitter, but instead to expand the scope from one powerful tool to many powerful tools. Plus, I made a bunch of HIMSS Twitter tips and tricks last year and those still apply.

LinkedIn – In many ways, LinkedIn is even more powerful to Twitter. This is particularly true in the business world. I’m still surprised how many people think that LinkedIn is still their online resume. It is that, but it’s so much more. There are hundreds of amazing groups (see the Healthcare Scene group) on LinkedIn that cover every topic imaginable. Join them and participate in the discussions. You’ll be amazed at the connections you make. No doubt many of the people in those groups will also be at HIMSS. Find them. Connect with them and then meetup in person at HIMSS. That’s a powerful use of social media.

Blogging – While a tweet is easy to create, a blog post has a much longer lasting impact. Because of all the activity around HIMSS, a really well done blog post can more easily “go viral” during HIMSS. I’ve seen well done blog posts make the rounds in a fantastically powerful way thanks to the #HIMSS16 hashtag. Those blog posts are often what people are talking about over drinks or in booths at HIMSS. If you don’t have your own blog, try LinkedIn’s blog or medium or even leverage Healthcare Scene’s blogs.

Facebook – People often forget that Facebook can be a powerful tool for yourself or your business. Everyone is on Facebook (give or take a few million), and there’s no better way to connect with someone than doing it both personally and professionally. Plus, there are Facebook groups where like minded people are having work conversations (Here’s the Healthcare Scene Facebook group) or sharing and consuming content. Join those conversations and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can connect to and learn from amazing people.

Periscope – Watch for Periscope to have a break out year at HIMSS this year. I’m not a huge fan of Periscope for a lot of things in healthcare IT, but live events is the perfect place for Periscope. I’ll be searching through Periscope to find who is broadcasting periscopes from HIMSS16 so I can see some of the interesting things I missed. Plus, I’ll likely be doing some periscopes from HIMSS16 myself, so watch for those.

HIMSS Mobile App – I’ll admit that this is a new one for me. I just downloaded the HIMSS Mobile App and I’m excited to see how well it works. While many people think it’s a way to find sessions, maps, etc, the mobile app is much more powerful as a way to connect with people. Unlike Twitter, the mobile app won’t likely have all the noise that exists on Twitter because you can’t automate what’s posted to the mobile app as easily as you can Twitter. Take some time to be active and share insights on the mobile app. I think you’ll be surprised at the impact you can have if you do so.

Those are a few suggestions. Let me know any other thoughts or suggestions you have on how to leverage social media before, during and after HIMSS16.

Finding The Perfect Match…The Hunt For A Provider Patient Relationship That Works – Communication Solutions Series

Posted on February 11, 2016 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Brittany Quemby,  Marketing Manager of Stericycle Communication Solutions as part of the Communication Solutions Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with them on Twitter: @StericycleComms
Brittany Quemby - Stericycle
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, some of my single friends are sharing the difficulties they are having while trying to find “the one.” This got me thinking about the relationships in my life where I’ve struggled to find “the one.”

Most of us put in a lot of time and consideration when choosing a healthcare provider.  If you think about it, it’s almost like online dating.  We research our physicians online, take a look at their reviews, get feedback and recommendations from friends, and meet with them to make sure it’s the right fit.  After what could be months of trying to find the right doctor we finally make a decision and bring them onboard as a trusted healthcare advisor.  You entrust them with your health, your life, and your future.  This got me thinking…are our healthcare providers taking the same amount of time and consideration when evaluating the services they provide to us?

Healthcare providers offer a number of services and contract many different service organizations when it comes to running their organizations. Everything from EHRs, to Patient Engagement tools, to Lab Facilities, to Digital Health apps, to their telephone answering service is outsourced in one way or another. I wonder, how can you ensure you’re selecting a physician who takes as much care choosing service providers and their amenities as you did choosing them?  After all, your care and health outcomes are impacted by both people in the relationship being the “right match.”

After working in the healthcare industry for several years, I treat my visit to my doctor’s office like I would a first date. I take notes, try to spot the red flags and ask lots of tough questions. Anything from which EHR they are using, to how they document my visit, how they dispose or store patient files, how they remind me for my appointment, how they route my calls, what patient educational tools they offer me, my wait-time, and even who they buy their supplies from.

Now…I am able to spot these things because I have an idea of what I am looking for and the right questions to ask.  But what about patient’s who don’t know what to look for? Do they know what they are looking for in a long term provider relationship? What are the most important characteristics to them and what are they willing to compromise?

Here are some of my deal breakers:

  • Old Equipment and Technology. It’s important to me that my provider uses the best healthcare products and services on the market that can help manage my health effectively.
  • Lackadaisical Security. It’s imperative that my health data is secure. My provider must understand the importance of maintaining secure patient information and employing vendors who are HIPAA compliant.
  • Unavailability. I get that my healthcare provider may not work 24 hours a day, but there are times that I think their service providers should. What if I need an appointment on a Saturday? What if I need to get a hold of my physician after hours? Who will take that call? A provider who I can only communicate with Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm is a deal-breaker for me.
  • Poor Communication. I always have questions about my health and how to better maintain it. For me, my provider has to be available, approachable, caring, and communicative to serve as a consultant in my healthcare journey.
  • Makes me pay. When I am searching for the right providers, insurance is the first place I start. Does the healthcare organization accept my insurance, or will I have to pay for my services? Don’t take my insurance? Deal breaker!

Unfortunately, there is not a to help pair the right patient with the right provider….yet. (With the demands patients are putting on healthcare organizations I wouldn’t be surprised if we are swiping left or right when picking our providers in the next 5 years). However, as patients become more and more involved in their care decisions and continue to expect more from their providers I’d encourage everyone to create their list of deal breakers and ask the hard questions, and when in doubt, introduce them to your mom!

The Communication Solutions Series of blog posts is sponsored by Stericycle Communication Solutions, a leading provider of high quality telephone answering, appointment scheduling, and automated communication services. Stericycle Communication Solutions combines a human touch with innovative technology to deliver best-in-class communication services.  Connect with Stericycle Communication Solutions on social media:  @StericycleComms

The Value of Standardizing Mobile Devices in Your Healthcare Organization

Posted on February 10, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Before becoming a full time healthcare IT blogger, I worked doing system administration and top to bottom IT support (I am @techguy on Twitter after all). While that now seems like somewhat of a past life, it never ceases to amaze me how the lessons that applied to technology 10 years ago come around again 10 years later.

A great example of this is in the devices an organization purchases. I learned really early on in my technology career the importance of creating a standard set of products that we would support as an IT organization. This was true when ordering desktop computers, laptops, printers, and even servers. The benefits to doing so were incredible and most technology people understand the benefits.

You can create a standard image which you put on the device. If one device breaks you can easily swap it for a similar device or use parts from two broken down devices to make one that works. When someone calls for support, with a standard set of devices you can more easily provide them the support they need.

Another one of the unseen benefits of setting and sticking to a standard set of devices is you can then often leverage the vendor provided management tools for those devices instead of investing in an expensive third party solution. This can be really powerful for an organization since the device management software that’s available today has gotten really good.

What’s unfortunate is that the way mobile devices were rolled out in healthcare, many organizations forgot this important lesson and they’ve got a bit of a hodgepodge of devices in their organization. I encourage these organizations to get back to creating and sticking to a standard set of devices when purchasing mobile devices. No doubt you’ll get a little backlash from people who like to do their own thing, but the cost of providing support and maintenance for a potpourri of devices is just not worth it.

What’s been your organization’s mobile device strategy? Have you created and stuck to a standard device or do you have a mix of devices?

Using Technology Outside the EHR to Make Your Organization More Efficient

Posted on February 9, 2016 I Written By

The following is a post by Vishal Gandhi, CEO of ClinicSpectrum as part of the Cost Effective Healthcare Workflow Series of blog posts. Follow and engage with him on Twitter @ClinicSpectrum and @csvishal2222.
Vishal Gandhi
The complaints about EHR systems not making doctors more efficient and more broadly that technology should improve a practice and not make it worse are starting to really swell. All of these poorly designed and poorly implemented EHR are giving all healthcare technology a bad name and it shouldn’t.

Technology has improved so many businesses outside of healthcare and it can have the same impact inside healthcare. We just need more practices to stop focusing on government incentive money and government regulations so they can focus on meaningful (pun intended) technology which will actually improve the performance of their healthcare organization.

This requires a major shift in thinking for most healthcare organizations. Instead of evaluating technology based on its ability to receive government incentives, you now have to look at technology that will make your practice run more efficiently, increase your practice revenue, or improve the quality of care you provide. In many cases this means looking at technology that’s been benefiting other industries for years.

A great example of this is implementing a complete workflow management system. Document workflow management systems have been around for a long time, but so many areas of healthcare are missing out on the benefits. We’d like to think that an EHR would make us paperless, but that’s far from reality. That’s especially true on the medical billing and practice management side of healthcare. A well done workflow management software like we created with WorkflowSpectrum takes your current paper based processes and makes them more efficient and trackable.

With an electronic workflow solution a healthcare organization can quickly see how well their back end office processes are running. They can track how long it takes for a process to occur. This ensures your staff are held accountable for the work they’ve been asked to do. You can easily assign and re-assign tasks to people in your office without having the files get lost or misplaced in the process. Document management options like this have been available forever, but far too many have been distracted by EHR to implement these solutions. Plus, many practices have yet to realize that even small practices can afford workflow management solutions that will dramatically improve the efficiency of their practice. The cost of these systems has dropped dramatically over the years and they’re much easier to implement as well.

Another example of non-EHR technology that could benefit many healthcare organizations is a client support and electronic device management software package. We’ve created one that we call SupportSpectrum, but there are a number of other device management and support software programs out there. These software packages provide the most value when you’re required to manage multiple devices across a wide range of locations. If you’re involved in this, you know about the challenge of managing your electronic device inventory including warranty and contract management.

Thanks to ubiquitous internet, it’s now easy for even remote support staff to manage and support clients and electronic devices (including mobile devices) at a distance. That includes things like application, service, and hardware management. It also includes backup tracking, support ticket and issue management, application updating and much more. No doubt many organizations implement some sort of hodgepodge of software to tackle this problem. That works fine when you’re small, but gets quite cumbersome as you grow. A unified platform for support can provide many needed efficiencies and a much higher level of support.

The problem is that talking about many of these non-EHR technologies isn’t considered “sexy.” We can’t talk about the billions in government incentive money from implementing these technologies. We can’t use government penalties to drive fear in providers. However, what these non-EHR solutions do provide is efficiency and increased revenue for your healthcare organization.

Maybe I’m old school in this regard, but give me a well run, efficient, patient focused organization over some government program driven healthcare organization every day of the week.

The Cost Effective Healthcare Workflow Series of blog posts is sponsored by ClinicSpectrum, a leading provider of workflow automation solutions for healthcare. ClinicSpectrum offers a client support module to help you better manage the support you provide your clients’ computer systems. ClinicSpectrum also offers a document workflow system to optimize your practice’s workflow processes. Connect with Clinic Spectrum on social media: @ClinicSpectrum or at Booth 1270 at HIMSS 2016.

Securing Mobile Devices in Healthcare

Posted on February 8, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is sponsored by Samsung Business. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

When you look at healthcare security on the whole, I think everyone would agree that healthcare has a lot of work to do. Just taking into account the top 5 health data breaches in 2015, approximately 30-35% of people in the US have had their health data breached. I’m afraid that in 2016 these numbers are likely going to get worse. Let me explain why I think this is the case.

First, meaningful use required healthcare organizations to do a HIPAA risk assessment. While many organizations didn’t really do a high quality HIPAA risk assessment, it still motivated a number of organizations to do something about privacy and security. Even if it wasn’t the step forward many would like, it was still a step forward.

Now that meaningful use is being replaced, what other incentive are doctors going to have to take a serious look at privacy and security? If 1/3 of patients having their records breached in 2015 isn’t motivating enough, what’s going to change in 2016?

Second, hackers are realizing the value of health data and the ease with which they can breach health data systems. Plus, with so many organizations going online with their EHR software and other healthcare IT software, these are all new targets for hackers to attack.

Third, while every doctor in healthcare had a mobile device, not that many of them accessed their EHR on their mobile device since many EHR vendors didn’t support mobile devices very well. Over the next few years we’ll see EHR vendors finally produce high quality, native mobile apps that access EHR software. Once they do, not only will doctors be accessing patient data on their mobile device, but so will nurses, lab staff, HIM, etc. While all of this mobility is great, it creates a whole new set of vulnerabilities that can be exploited if not secured properly.

I’m not sure what we can do to make organizations care about privacy and security. Although, once a breach happens they start to care. We’re also not going to be able to stem the tide of hackers being interested in stealing health data. However, we can do something about securing the plethora of mobile devices in healthcare. In fact, it’s a travesty when we don’t since mobile device security has become so much easier.

I remember in the early days of smartphones, there weren’t very many great enterprise tools to secure your smartphones. These days there are a ton of great options and many of them come natively from the vendor who provides you the phone. Many are even integrated into the phone’s hardware as well as software. A good example of this is the mobile security platform, Samsung KNOX™. Take a look at some of its features:

  • Separate Work and Personal Data (Great for BYOD)
  • Multi-layered Hardware and Software Security
  • Easy Mobile Device Management Integration
  • Enterprise Grade Security and Encryption

It wasn’t that long ago that we had to kludge together multiple solutions to achieve all of these things. Now they come in one nice, easy to implement package. The excuses of why we don’t secure mobile devices in healthcare should disappear. If a breach occurs in your organization because a mobile device wasn’t secure, I assure you that those excuses will feel pretty hollow.

For more content like this, follow Samsung on Insights, Twitter, LinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

#HIMSS16 Mix Tape

Posted on February 5, 2016 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin is a true believer in #HealthIT, social media and empowered patients. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He currently leads the marketing efforts for @PatientPrompt, a Stericycle product. Colin’s Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung

On February 29th the #HealthIT community will descend on Las Vegas for the annual HIMSS conference and exhibition.

One of the best parts about attending HIMSS is getting the chance to meet people in real life who I interact with through social media. There is nothing quite like meeting someone face to face for the first time yet feeling like you already know them. I think hugging and fist bumps are the official greetings at HIMSS. It’s an absolute blast to be able to share stories and laughs with likes of Mandi Bishop, John Lynn , Rasu Shrestha and Wen Dombrowski.

With an expected attendance of 45,000 this year, I’m hoping to meet even more people than ever before at the various HIMSS gatherings.

Last year, ahead of HIMSS15, I decided to do a fun blog post. I asked some friends to send me a song they thought reflected what was happening in #HealthIT at the time. I compiled everyone’s selections along with the reasons behind their choice. I called it the HIMSS15 Mix Tape. The response was amazing. I had so many people DM me and stop me at the conference to give me their song choice. Even John Lynn blogged about it.

This year, I asked an even larger number of friends to contribute a song. So without further rambling, here is the #HIMSS16 Mix Tape. Enjoy!

HIMSS16 Mix Tape

Night on Bald Mountain – Disney’s Fantasia. Chosen by Regina Holliday @ReginaHolliday. “Disney. Because although morning will come, we now walk among the terrors.”

Confident – Demi Levato. Chosen by Mandi Bishop @MandiBPro. “For a couple reasons: 1) it’s beyond time #HealthITChicks / #WomenInHIT got equal recognition and pay for their contributions to the field, and I’m seeing an increasing strength of voice supporting those efforts, 2) patients have had enough of their attempts to engage being discounted by clinicians and other caregivers, and we are all demanding respect and inclusion at the table of our healthcare decisions.”

Stronger – Kelly Clarkson. Chosen by John Lynn @techguy. “This should be the anthem of those of us in healthcare IT.  First, do no harm, but don’t be afraid to take some risks and make mistakes.  Not taking some risks is killing more people than doing something and sometimes making mistakes.  Healthcare will be stronger for the mistakes we make.”

Runnin’ Down A Dream –  Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Chosen by Melody Smith Jones @melsmithjones. “I got into this industry because my grandmother died of cancer in rural USA in 2003. I’ve been running down the dream of care everywhere ever since. I believe 2016 will bring us the most growth in Connected Health that we have seen to date.”

Talk to Me – Stevie Nicks. Chosen by David Harlow @healthblawg. “The chorus includes the line: “You can talk to me/You can set your secrets free, baby” which can be read as a coded message to legacy systems … One of the verses goes: “Our voices stray from the common ground where they/Could meet/The walls run high/ … / Oh, let the walls burn down, set your secrets free” — a prescient call to interoperability, to communication, to enabling broader collaboration across provider, payor and health care information technology silos. We’re almost there, Stevie.”

Heroes – David Bowie. Chosen by Nick van Terheyden @drnic1. “Because I love that track and was sad to see David Bowie leave this universe. But also: We need to be heroes for Healthcare and I hope Healthcare Technology can beat the madness of our system and Ch-ch-ch-ch-change the world:

A million dead-end streets / And every time I thought I’d got it made / It seemed the taste was not so sweet…… / We can be Heroes, just for one day / We can beat them, for ever and ever … ICYMI – I blended the lyrics from David Bowie’s Changes with Heroes”

Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd. Chosen by Rasu Shrestha @RasuShrestha. “In memory of Meaningful Use ‘All in all it was just a brick in the wall…’ “

Numb – Linkin Park. Chosen by me @Colin_Hung. I think many physicians, nurses, administrators and patients are numb from all the competing priorities this past year and from the years of chasing Meaningful User dollars. I think this verse sums it up:

I’m tired of being what you want me to be / Feeling so faithless, lost under the surface / Don’t know what you’re expecting of me / Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes / (Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow) / Every step that I take is another mistake to you

Fire – Jimi Hendrix. Chosen by Chad Johnson @OchoTex. “The reason is simple: HL7 FHIR continues to dominate the headlines and discussions around health data interoperability, and rightfully so. FHIR will bring exciting changes to interoperability.”

Taking Care of Business – Bachman-Turner Overdrive. Chosen by Charles Webster @wareFLO. “Taking care of business in healthcare means getting sh*%$t done. Effectively and efficiently accomplishing goals is only possible with great…wait for it…WORKFLOW”

I Want It All – Queen. Chosen by Joe Lavelle @Resultant. “Because we want it all – Interoperability, “our damn data”, #mhealth, Patient Engagement, Population Health, Telemedicine. etc.”

Robot Rock – Daft Punk. Chosen by AJ Montpetit @ajmontpetit. “We’re heading to the integration of AI into healthcare to create a streamlined experience, and assist in comprehension of all the multiple factors that each patient has individually.”

Upgrade U – Beyoncé. Chosen by Cari McLean @carimclean. “I’ll go with a song that not only always makes me dance but one that reflects a growing happening in healthcare. I chose this song because the EHR replacement market is growing as the rip and replace trend continues and health information exchange is prioritized.”

Give Me Novacaine – Green Day. Chosen by Linda Stotsky @EMRAnswers. “LOL- because providers are in PAIN!!! They need something to soften the blows”

Changes – David Bowie. Chosen by Brad Justus @BradJustus. “A classic from a classic and something that is a constant in #HealthIT”

Fight Song – Rachel Platten. Chosen by Jennifer Dennard @JennDennard. “I think it encapsulates the #healthITchicks ethos – not to mention patient advocates’ – quite well :)”

 What Do You Mean – Justin Bieber. Chosen by Sarah Bennight @sarahbennight. “For SO many reasons. What do you mean MU is going away? What do you mean you need me to fill out ANOTHER demographic profile, what do you mean you don’t have my allergies? What do you mean by interoperable? I could go on all day, but we all have real jobs to do….like to figure out this healthcare IT thing :) Plus in the Justin B song…you hear a clock…do you ever feel like Health IT is running out of time? I don’t agree with JB on ANYTHING, but I agree we are running out of time.”

Shape of Things – David Bowie. Chosen by Pat Rich @pat_health. “In my mind this song evokes the futuristic world of health IT in a steampunk/sci-fi sort of way”

Hello – Adele. Chosen by Bill Bunting @WTBunting. “Because there is an emerging side of healthcare that’s trying to break free and be heard (i.e. adoption), and no one is answering the call to do so”

Under Pressure – Queen & David Bowie. Chosen by Joy Rios @askjoyrios. “There is so much pressure to get through these health IT initiatives unscathed and there’s so much at risk if they get it wrong.  I see providers across the country dealing with so much change, when they mostly just want to focus on their practice. Unfortunately, the changes are not letting up. I feel like the healthcare system is right in the middle of its metamorphosis… not a caterpillar anymore, but by no means a butterfly!”

Please Please Me – The Beatles. Chosen by Jim Tate @jimtate. “Providers want better EHRs”

New New Minglewood Blues – The Grateful Dead. Chosen by Brian Ahier @ahier. “Because I was inspired by this @healthblawg post ‘The New New Meaningful Use’ “

EHR State of Mind – ZDoggMDChosen by Andy DeLaO @CancerGeek. “Does it really need an explanation? J”

Dha Tete – Pandit Shyamal Bose. Chosen by Wen Dombrowski @HealthcareWen. “Some reasons I like this song:

  • Focus, Mindfulness
  • Flow states
  • Collaboration, Staying in Sync with each other (it is actually 2 people duet)
  • Speed, Moving fast
  • Precision, deciveness
  • Artistry, Beauty”

You Can Get It If You Really Want – Jimmy Cliff. Chosen by Steve Sisko @ShimCode. “I believe true, widespread interoperability is not that far away. The technology, standards (FHIR, OpenNotes), and group consensus (outfits like CommonWell, The Sequoia Project) are finally coming together.

You can get it if you really want / But you must try, try and try, try and try / You’ll succeed at last

Do you have a song you think reflects #HealthIT or healthcare at the moment? Add it to the comments below!

[Update: Here is a link to a Spotify playlist of the entire #HIMSS16 Mix Tape or if you like videos, here is a YouTube playlist]

Making Precision Medicine a Reality with Dr. Delaney, SAP & Curtis Dudley, VP at Mercy

Posted on February 4, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

UPDATE: In case you missed the live interview, you can watch the interview on YouTube below:

You can also watch the “after party” where Shahid Shah joins us and extends the discussion we started:

Making Precision Medicine a Reality-blog

Ever since President Obama announced the precision medicine initiative, it’s become a hot topic in every healthcare organization. While it’s great to talk theoretically about what’s happening with precision medicine, I’m always more interested with what’s actually happening to make medicine more precise. That’s why I’m excited to sit down with a great panel of experts that are actually working in the trenches where precision medicine is being implemented.

On Monday, February 8, 2016 at 2 PM ET (11 AM PT) I’ll be hosting a live video interview with Curtis Dudley from Mercy and Dr. David Delaney from SAP where we’re going to dive into the work Curtis Dudley and his team are doing at Mercy around perioperative services analytics that improved quality outcomes and reduced delivery costs.

The great part is that you can join my live conversation with this panel of experts and even add your own comments to the discussion or ask them questions. All you need to do to watch live is visit this blog post on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 2 PM ET (11 AM PT) and watch the video embed at the bottom of the post or you can subscribe to the blab directly. We’ll be doing a more formal interview for the first 30 minutes and then open up the Blab to others who want to add to the conversation or ask us questions. The conversation will be recorded as well and available on this post after the interview.

Here are a few more details about our panelists:

If you can’t join our live video discussion or want to learn more, check out Mercy’s session at HIMSS16 called “HANA as the Key to Advanced Analytics for Population Health and Operational Performance” on March 1, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at SAP Booth #5828.

If you’d like to see the archives of Healthcare Scene’s past interviews, you can find and subscribe to all of Healthcare Scene’s interviews on YouTube.

Genomic Medicine

Posted on February 3, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Last month I was lucky to lead a panel discussion on the topic of genomics in medicine at CES. I was joined on the panel by Andy De, Global Managing Director and General Manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences at Tableau, and Aaron Black, Director, Informatics, Inova Translational Medicine Institute. There certainly wasn’t enough time in our session to get to everything that was really happening in genomics, but Andy and Aaron do a great job giving you an idea of what’s really happening with genomics and the baseline of genomic data that’s being set for the future. You can see what I mean in the video below:

Be sure to see all of the conferences where you can find Healthcare Scene.

To Improve Health Data Security, Get Your Staff On Board

Posted on February 2, 2016 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

As most readers know, last year was a pretty lousy one for healthcare data security. For one thing, there was the spectacular attack on health insurer Anthem Inc., which exposed personal information on nearly 80 million people. But that was just the headline event. During 2015, the HHS Office for Civil Rights logged more than 100 breaches affecting 500 or more individuals, including four of the five largest breaches in its database.

But will this year be better? Sadly, as things currently stand, I think the best guess is “no.” When you combine the increased awareness among hackers of health data’s value with the modest amounts many healthcare organizations spend on security, it seems like the problem will actually get worse.

Of course, HIT leaders aren’t just sitting on their hands. According to a HIMSS estimate, hospitals and medical practices will spend about $1 billion on cybersecurity this year. And recent HIMSS survey of healthcare executives found that information security had become a top business priority for 90% of respondents.

But it will take more than a round of new technical investments to truly shore up healthcare security. I’d argue that until the culture around healthcare security changes — and executives outside of the IT department take these threats seriously — it’ll be tough for the industry to make any real security progress.

In my opinion, the changes should include following:

  • Boost security education:  While your staff may have had the best HIPAA training possible, that doesn’t mean they’re prepared for growing threat cyber-strikes pose. They need to know that these days, the data they’re protecting might as well be money itself, and they the bankers who must keep an eye on the vault. Health leaders must make them understand the threat on a visceral level.
  • Make it easy to report security threats: While readers of this publication may be highly IT-savvy, most workers aren’t. If you haven’t done so already, create a hotline to report security concerns (anonymously if callers wish), staffed by someone who will listen patiently to non-techies struggling to explain their misgivings. If you wait for people who are threatened by Windows to call the scary IT department, you’ll miss many legit security questions, especially if the staffer isn’t confident that anything is wrong.
  • Reward non-IT staffers for showing security awareness: Not only should organizations encourage staffers to report possible security issues — even if it’s a matter of something “just not feeling right” — they should acknowledge it when staffers make a good catch, perhaps with a gift card or maybe just a certificate. It’s pretty straightforward: reward behavior and you’ll get more of it.
  • Use security reports to refine staff training: Certainly, the HIT department may benefit from alerts passed on by the rest of the staff. But the feedback this process produces can be put to broader use.  Once a quarter or so, if not more often, analyze the security issues staffers are bringing to light. Then, have brown bag lunches or other types of training meetings in which you educate staffers on issues that have turned up regularly in their reports. This benefits everyone involved.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that security awareness among non-techies is sufficient to prevent data breaches. But I do believe that healthcare organizations could prevent many a breach by taking advantage of their staff’s instincts and observational skills.

Wearable Health Trackers Could Pose Security Risks

Posted on February 1, 2016 I Written By

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.

Last October, security researchers made waves when they unveiled what they described as a 10-second hack of a Fitbeat wearable health tracker. At the Hack.Lu 2015 conference, Fortinet security researcher Axelle Apvrille laid out a method for hacking the wearable through its Bluetooth radio. Apparently, Aprville was able to infect the Fitbit Flex from as much as 15 feet away, manipulate data on the tracker, and use the Flex to distribute his code to a computer.

Fitbit, for its part, denied that its devices can serve as vehicles for infecting users with malware. And Aprville himself admitted publicly that his demonstration was more theoretical than practical. In a tweet following the conference, he noted that he had not demonstrated a way to execute malicious code on the victim’s host.

But the incident does bring attention to a very serious issue. While consumers are picking up health trackers at a breathless pace, relatively little attention has been paid to whether the data on these devices is secure. Perhaps even more importantly, too few experts are seeking ways to prevent these devices can be turned into a jumping-off point for malware. After all, like any other lightly-guarded Internet of Things device, a wearable tracker could ultimately allow an attacker to access enterprise healthcare networks, and possibly even sensitive PHI or financial data.

It’s not as though we aren’t aware that connected healthcare devices are rich hunting grounds. For example, security groups are beginning to focus on securing networked medical devices such as blood gas analyzers and wireless infusion pumps, as it’s becoming clear that they might be accessible to data thieves or other malicious intruders. But perhaps because wearable trackers are effectively “healthcare lite,” used almost exclusively by consumers, the threat they could pose to healthcare organizations over time hasn’t generated a lot of heat.

But health tracker security strategies deserve a closer look. Here’s some sample suggestions on how to secure health and fitness devices from Milan Patel, IoT Security Program Director at IBM:

  • Device design: Health tracker manufacturers should establish a secure hardware and software development process, including source code analysis to pinpoint code vulnerabilities and security testing to find runtime vulnerabilities. Use trusted manufacturers who secure components, and a trusted supply chain. Also, deliver secure firmware/software updates and audit them.
  • Device deployment:  Be sure to use strong encryption to protect privacy and integrity of data on the device, during transmission from device to the cloud and on the cloud. To further control device data, give consumers the ability to set up user and usage privileges for their data, and an option to anonymize the data.Secure all communication channels to protect against data change, corruption or observation.
  • Manage security:  Include trackers in the set of technology being monitored, and set alerts for intrusion. Audit logging is desirable for the devices, as well as the network connections and the cloud. The tracker should ideally be engineered to include a fail-safe operation — dropping the system down to incapability, safely — to protect against attacks.

This may sound like a great deal of effort to expend on these relatively unsophisticated devices. And at present, it just may be overkill. But it’s worth preparing for a world in which health trackers are increasingly capable and connected, and increasingly attractive to the attackers who want your data.