How health care IT and value-based care are shaking up the industry

Spending on health care makes up about one sixth of U.S. GDP, making the industry an influential force—and one that can be slow to change. Still, health care—and its technology—needs to be able to keep up with the latest trends if providers want to survive and give the best care to their patients.

One of the biggest shifts occurring in the industry is the switch to value-based care, in which physicians and health care providers bill patients for all service related to treatment of a particular condition, rather than on a procedure-by-procedure basis. It involves more sharing between different providers and, usually, better quality care for the patient.

It also means changes in how care is delivered and the role technology plays. Here’s how health care technology is evolving to meet these new trends. Continue Reading…

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How a 1,700-tablet rollout helped transform this health care company

When you’re in the back of an ambulance, you want your EMTs to have the newest, most reliable, most easy-to-use technology. You don’t want clunky computers and tablets from 10 years ago, and you don’t want a slow, messy deployment process of new technology to cause hiccups in your ongoing care. If your life is on the line, you want to know everything related to saving it is as efficient and up-to-date as possible.

Health care is in a more precarious place than most industries, as failures can have life or death consequences. That’s why, when one ambulance dispatch company wanted to replace 5,500 of the computers and tablets in its ambulances, it needed the process to be efficient, move quickly, and—most importantly—improve the lives of both doctors and patients.

Here’s how it did exactly that.

Emergency vehicles with problems of their own

The company dispatched ambulances all over the country, meaning that it had a huge supply of mobile devices. The tablets and laptops the company deployed ran the company’s enterprise app, which EMTs used to check patients and catalog their vital statistics, but device management issues regularly popped up across the board.

There was no unified management system that could easily image all of those devices. The ruggedized laptops and tablets were old, heavy, bulky, expensive, and on strange lifecycles. The company struggled to tell when old devices should be retired and disposed of, or how data was transferred or deleted, or if training was needed for a new device.

With all of these troubles, the company was looking for an enterprise-wide upgrade: an army of the same devices that could be managed by one system for seamless device and information integration. A big draw for the company was Windows 10, which it was hoping to implement in all areas of business in order to streamline imaging and management. It turned to Microsoft, which offered a good deal on Surface 3 tablets, InTune, and Azure to complete the deployment.

Tight turnaround, high demand

Despite this generous offer from Microsoft, challenges remained. The first came in the form of inventory. As the company’s longtime partner, SHI was responsible for sourcing the 1,700 Surface tablets and accompanying accessories, such as Urban Armor Gear cases and Compulocks DoubelGlass Screen Shield screen protectors, that would be used in the ambulances—no easy feat, considering the Surface tablets best suited for the company were not new models. However, by working with multiple distributors and leveraging its strong relationship with Microsoft’s Surface team, SHI was able to get access to Surfaces as they became available.

The second challenge came in the form of prioritizing the rollout. With so many locations and only a four-month rollout period, it was important that the schedule ran tightly to the expected timeline and properly prioritized each site in terms of need. By engaging with suppliers and the health care company’s key stakeholders, SHI was able to figure out which locations would implement the rollout first, manage the supply chain to accommodate that, and simplify the timeline. SHI also encrypted, imaged, and asset tagged each device, so that they could be sent to the proper location and work right out of the box—a process partly made possible by SHI’s new Integration Center.

Making it all come together

Upgrading its hardware allowed the company’s enterprise app to run much more smoothly, meaning doctors and EMTs can share patient information more easily than before. The Surface 3 is lighter and more user-friendly than the old machines the company was using, and adding the functionality of the included Surface pen and other accessories means that hospitals can check in and process patients faster.

The Surface 3, of course, also runs Windows 10, which can up productivity for doctors, nurses, and EMTs. By adding mobility and Windows 10 to its environment, the company improves flow of information between health care practitioners and patients—a valuable addition in a field where every second can count.

But it doesn’t end there. Although the rollout went smoothly and quickly for this health care company, there’s still a long way to go. By switching all of its devices to Windows 10 and compatible services, this company hopes to improve its communication and device management even further, creating a more connected environment that could help save even more lives.

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3 trends driving health care IT in 2017

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference is reliably the most significant health care IT conference in the United States each year, bringing together thousands of vendors and tens of thousands of health care IT professionals focused on a common goal: Improving health care efficiency through technology. This year was no different.

Here are some of the key topics we witnessed from our spot on the HIMSS 2017 Exhibit Hall floor. Continue Reading…

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6 tech trends that took over in 2016

Technology continues to become more and more integrated into our everyday lives—it’s hard to find a company that doesn’t use software to help run their business more smoothly. At SHI, we help organizations across a number of industries find the solutions they need, from printer security to healthy cubicle hacks and more. It gives us a great view of some of the trends that emerge each year, including what hit it big in 2016. Continue Reading…

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Is your health care organization prepared for a cyber attack?

healthcare-itRansomware and cybercrime hacking have been two of the most common IT security threats in 2016, but many health care organizations aren’t ready to play defense: Only about 60 percent of surveyed organizations had the security capabilities in place to detect and remediate these attacks.

That’s problematic, of course, but is it surprising? After all, many health care organizations place more importance on HIPAA compliance than security, or they aren’t agile enough to protect themselves against the newest threat. Organizations tend to sink their energy into defending against the latest threat of the day, but lag on improving their entire security architecture. Continue Reading…

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3 health care IT trends that could shape your next technology purchase

healthcare securityHealth care is in the midst of unprecedented change. The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, the shift to electronic medical records (EMR), and the country’s increased focus on wellness have shaken up the industry, leading to more accessibility for patients, widespread data sharing, and greater dependency on cloud technology.

Yet health care continues to be one of the most outdated industries when it comes to IT, making it difficult for health care IT managers and directors to find the best technology for their needs.

There’s already been a shift from buying to leasing, as the rate of technology innovation leads to more turnover. What other trends can you expect to play a role in your next technology investment? Here are three of the biggest concerns to think about before your next health care IT purchase. Continue Reading…

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The ailments and issues that health care IT professionals are most concerned about

health care ITThe operating room is the convergence of intelligence and technology. The computers, devices, and software that make up the operating room and your doctor’s office, as well as the latest trends in health care, were on full display at HIMSS 2016 in Las Vegas earlier this month. This year’s conference was attended by more than 45,000 health care IT professionals who were ready, willing, and eager to learn how to collaborate better and improve patient care through IT solutions.

Throughout the conference I met with people from all areas of health care — from providers to payers to vendors. Here are three key takeaways. Continue Reading…

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How one health care firm fixed its data storage worries

medical dataWhen the new IT director at a U.S. health care and financial management firm examined his on-premises storage environment, he noticed something unexpected: The last byte of storage was in sight.

The company needed storage, and soon. The entire business — collecting, analyzing, and processing new medical records, health care, and insurance data — depended on it. A lack of storage space would halt the review and processing of insurance claims and billing, and there wasn’t much time to prevent it. Continue Reading…

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Resources, relationships, and results: How a children’s hospital fixed its disaster recovery plan

children's hospitalWhen faced with bad choices, it’s sometimes easier to just do nothing, even if that inaction can lead to a new round of issues.

Such was the situation for a children’s hospital in one U.S. city. The hospital had no disaster recovery (DR), and it was stuck with an impractical plan from a consultant – backup hardware in a building across the street. Continue Reading…

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Diagnosing cancer and stopping crime: How big data is leaving its mark

big dataIt’s easy to get lost in big data. The terabytes of data compiled and crunched by machines and programs offer new insights about our world. But where’s the signal? The noise? What does big data actually mean for you and me?

Big data isn’t about finding the needle in the haystack, but rather understanding the haystack, needle and all. Big data’s value lies in its useful and actionable insights, which are only as powerful as the data you’ve collected and the questions you ask of it. Understanding what the data can provide and how to use it is already earning dividends for some industries. Continue Reading…

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