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2019 was a big year in healthcare with further advancement in Telehealth, record-breaking health data breaches, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the continued movement into healthcare by Amazon and Apple. In our 2018 Healthcare IT Year in Review post, we discussed the four most significant stories of 2018. These four included Amazon in healthcare, Apple’s advancements in healthcare, the VA and Cerner, and Data Breaches. Three of these topics continued to be front and center in 2019, and we wanted to review the advancements.

  1. Amazon in Healthcare: 2019 was a big year for Amazon, and their steady advancement into healthcare. In May 2019, Amazon purchased PillPack for $753 Million. With this acquisition, Amazon has an opportunity to simplify the pharmacy supply chain and improve the experience/cost matters for patients, payers, and manufacturers. Additionally, Amazon Alexa is now HIPAA compliant, meaning it can work with health developers that manage protected health information. Amazon has stated that it worked with partners on six new health skills, which help people make doctor’s appointments and check their health status. We expect Amazon to continue to grow its presence in healthcare through 2020 and beyond.
  1. Apple Advancements: 2018 ended with the release of WatchOS 5.1.2, which allowed Apple Watch users to be alerted to A-fib (Atrial fibrillation). In 2019, Apple continued to make advancements in healthcare with several new initiatives which included:
  • Opening enrollment for three health studies in partnership with leading academic and research institutions. These are part of the new Research application.
  • Expanding the Health Records feature of iPhone to include the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Adding Allscripts Sunrise, TouchWorks, and Professional EHR clients to Apple Health Records.
  • In partnership with the Stanford University School of Medicine, publishing the Apple Watch heart study that showed that the Apple Watch could safely detect heart irregularities.
  1. Data Breaches: 2018 saw the highest number of healthcare data breaches reported until 2019 came to an end. In 2018, 15M patient records were compromised. In 2019, there were over 430 data breaches, affecting over 40M patient records. That equates to a 167% increase in affected records. According to Black Book Research, by the end of 2019, healthcare data breaches cost the industry $4 Billion. Patient Records continue to be the most sought after by hackers, and until healthcare organizations and IT vendors start making changes, we expect this number to continue to rise.

2020 will continue to be a year of advancement in healthcare. One area expected to see rapid growth is 5G. As more devices become 5G compatible, such as the iPhone (anticipated in September 2020), and wireless carriers continue to deploy the technology within their networks, the usage throughout healthcare will increase.

Optimum Healthcare IT provides professional staffing services to fill any need as well as consulting services that encompass advisory, EHR implementation, training and activation, EHR optimization, community connect, managed services, enterprise resource planning, security, and ancillary services – supporting our client’s needs through the continuum of care. We are here to help you with any of your Healthcare IT needs. To learn more about the services, click here.

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