Written by Shon Barrier, Vice President of Research & Development
Looking back on 2021, healthcare organizations have been pushed to their technological limit. Increased patient demand and staffing shortages have forced nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and lab technicians to look to the digital space to increase efficiency, provide adequate care, and protect PHI data. As healthcare organizations adopt a more digital approach, what does this mean for the future of healthcare? Let’s look at the top trends that I predict are here to stay.
1) Telehealth is Here to Stay
Did you know, the number of people using telehealth increased over 40% since 2020?1
At the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals had to jump into action to find safer ways to deliver patient care without putting patients at risk with in-person visits. The solution was telehealth, and it was widely adopted very quickly. This quick adoption didn’t come without sacrifice. Healthcare organizations began using third-party software such as Zoom to share sensitive information, which could put some patient data at risk. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) temporarily relaxed HIPAA and other key requirements to get telehealth into full effect, but I expect HIPAA and other laws to address these gray areas in 2022. While we’re waiting for these changes to take effect, it is still important for healthcare organizations to regularly audit their business associates and ensure patient data remains secure.
2) Mobile and On the Move
Did you know, the average nurse walks four to five miles per 12-hour shift?2
As hospitals look to improve efficiencies in providing patient care, mobile devices are creeping to the top of the list. In fact, 97% of nurses and physicians are expected to rely on mobile devices or shared workstations at the bedside to perform critical clinical tasks by 2022.3 This allows healthcare staff to access health records, test results, and inventory without having to take another step. While this widely adopted technology certainly improves the quality of care, it also presents potential security concerns. In a recent survey, 42% of hospitals are looking to implement data encryption and remote device wiping on mobile devices within the next year.4 Mobility is going to save a lot of steps in 2022, but when thinking about PHI, it may be better to walk before you run.
3) Better PHI Protection
Did you know, health IT decision makers planning to implement AI jumped from 45% early in 2020 to 84% after the pandemic.5
Artificial intelligence and automation have been a hot topic over the past few years, and the technology couldn’t have come at a more necessary time. According to Mayo Clinic, 96% of medical professionals agree that physician burnout is a real issue that must be addressed. The same can be said about patient privacy teams. When you add up the repetitive and tedious tasks of investigating potential breaches and analyzing data, burnout is at an all-time high. Despite all that effort, it’s nearly impossible for a healthcare organization’s privacy team to track and spot suspicious behavior until it’s too late. Artificial Intelligence is able to make connections and identify patterns within data to proactively detect abnormal behavior in real-time to prevent breaches. Automation tools can also be used in addition to allow your patient privacy team to focus on more important tasks. With the current threat landscape and staffing shortages, AI and automation are a no-brainer for 2022.
4) Your Staff Needs A Much Needed Break
Did you know, laughing causes positive physical changes in your body and decreases stress?
2022 is moving in a positive direction, but that doesn’t mean you should wait to start taking care of yourself. We’ve all been through a lot this past year, both emotionally and physically to keep up with the demands of patients, and you deserve a much needed break. During our Fall Exchange, our keynote speaker was healthy humorist Brad Nieder, MD, who combines his medical background and relatable humor to engage and uplift attendees with strategies to prevent burnout. I encourage you to take some time to watch his keynote. You’ll walk away feeling lighter and confident in your ability to find a true work/life balance and bring joy to your patients – because laughter might be the best medicine.
We’re Here to Help
At iatricSystems™, we realize the power of Artificial Intelligence and automation is key to the future of healthcare IT. That’s why we made sure to include artificial intelligence and machine learning into our latest privacy monitoring solution – Haystack™ iS. The goal of Haystack iS was not only to spot suspicious activity but also to streamline your privacy team's workflows so they can instead focus on more strategic privacy and security initiatives.