As with the natural yin and yang of life, there always seems to be good news and bad news. The good news, regarding healthcare IT, is that the adoption of computerized provider order entry (CPOE) is more widespread than previously thought. The bad news is that the rate at which clinicians are entering all orders on these systems is far slower than originally anticipated.
These data come from a survey of members of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME). The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has spurred much discussion about CPOE. The folks at CHIME are encouraged by the robust discussion of CPOE and the results of this survey give them a clear direction with which to help guide their members toward achieving meaningful outcomes with their health IT programs.
Another dichotomous phenomenon is the proliferation of wireless technologies -- the caveat being the security of wireless networks. The primary applications for wireless transmission of health data are EHR, CPOE, clinical decision support systems and PACS.
Frost & Sullivan recently issued a report sounding a note of caution about the security of wireless networks throughout Europe. The reported noted that Wi-Fi, one of the most widely deployed wireless technologies in European hospitals, has several challenges with regard to range, security and quality of service.
These challenges can be effectively addressed, however, by next-generation cellular technologies that have enhanced security features, the researchers noted. But the cellular technology and health IT realms will need to work together to make this happen. And indications are that this integration is not far off.
A recent challenge to ARRA-earmarked IT stimulus dollars is a class action lawsuit alleging that that the Stimulus Act's health IT stipulations unconstitutionally violate the HIPAA privacy rule. The issue comes down to security. Having everyone's personal health information on an EHR makes them vulnerable to intruders. The upside, the yin to the yang, may be that stronger security measures come out of this lawsuit.
These are exciting times regarding the transmission, storage, retrieval and security of healthcare electronic data. The above-mentioned news articles are available in this portal, as are many other articles. The news is generally encouraging, given that we are in the beginning stages of this electronic revolution.
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