Digital Everything in Healthcare – How can you secure it all?
Viewing one 8 minute U-tube interview with Dr. Eric Topol, author of “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” is evidence enough that the sand beneath the healthcare world we grew up in, has shifted as dramatically as though a tsunami is sweeping it along:
The reality is that wearable and embedded digital devices used to measure every sign and sense in our bodies are already in the marketplace:
- Devices to measure every vital sign and transmit results to your smartphone
- Devices to perform continuous glucose monitoring without sticking your finger
- Hand held genome mapping devices that can assure the patient will not have a negative reaction to a drug
- Cardiogram application for the smartphone so the patient can see their own heart rhythms and forward results to their doctor if needed.
We have already moved to an electronic and digital world. Patients, not the government or any incentive programs, will be the catalyst for more rapid acceptance of digital solutions in the physician office. Although the timeline for adoption of new evidence-based treatment protocols and the use of digital records by physicians has been disturbingly slow, the ease with which their patients adopt new digital technologies to manage their own health will force the move to the new electronic paradigm.
What has escalated exponentially is the need to secure the myriad digital devices that are already in use by both physicians and patients (smartphones, I-Pads, tablets, etc.). The wave of adoption of hand held digital technologies to deliver better patient care must not be discouraged, but embraced and managed as safely as any other resources used in healthcare delivery. You may be surprised to know where and how the new technologies are already being used in your organization. The goal should be to create policies and procedures to assure the safe creation and transmission of the personal health information generated by them, and not to simply fight the digital wave.