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Cutting-edge technology for the healthcare sector

Wednesday, 14 March 2018   (0 Comments)
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Guest report from Denis O'Shea, Mobile Mentor


PICTURE: Panorama of technology stands at HIMSS 2018.



Mobile Mentor founder and chief executive Denis O’Shea attended HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas. He reports on the risks and opportunities he learned about.


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2018 conference was filled with excitement and cutting-edge technology. It has left me optimistic for the future of the healthcare industry and keen to see how it evolves using the newest and latest technologies. These are some of my takeaways from the conference.


1. Playing doctor is now a reality


Thanks to Microsoft and Medtronic, I was able to implant a stent in the heart of a stroke patient. Fortunately, it was a virtual stent and a virtual patient via a virtual reality simulation using HoloLens. Otherwise I probably would have killed the poor patient … yikes!


2. Hacking is easier than ever


To demonstrate the risk of public wi-fi usage, I volunteered to have my iPhone hacked as part of a live demonstration. The hacker was a pro from Symantec and founder of SkyCure, a leader in mobile threat management.


I clicked on a URL to connect to a public wi-fi network that required me to install a profile and accept a certificate. Suddenly, my device was beamed up on a big screen for the audience to have a laugh … while I turned pale. The hacker was able to open my LinkedIn app and send himself a connection request – which was amusing. But the terrifying part was that he was also able to expose my username and password for Office 365. He had full control of my device and could even intercept text messages for two-factor authentication.


The moral of the story? Never connect to public wi-fi … it is much safer and cheaper to use your personal mobile hotspot. 


3. Mobile technology advances – and an absence


It was terrific to see so many great advances in mobile solutions for healthcare, such as those from Vecna, Ground Control and Infinite Peripherals. It seems like all the big technology vendors are fully committed to digital healthcare, and there were excellent demos and presentations from Microsoft, Google, IBM and many others.


The one noticeable absence was Apple, despite, from a mobility perspective, it probably having had the most profound impact on healthcare over the past 10 years. Just about every clinician has used an iPhone or iPad and Apple App Store, and more recently many healthcare providers have been experimenting with the Apple Watch, Research Kit, AliveCor and other innovations. Apple is demonstrating leadership with the Food and Drug Administration pre-certification programme in the United States and in its large-scale partnerships with IBM and Cisco. So why was it not at HIMSS?


4. Sobering reality check


In spite of all the technological advances and approximately 166,000 healthcare apps on the market, a recent HIMSS survey concluded that most clinicians are using their smartphones primarily for communication, albeit secure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant communication.


The most disturbing finding was that some clinicians are required to use multiple devices for specific tasks, rather than having multiple apps and services integrated into a single device.


Here are some interesting statistics from the survey:

  • only 30% of clinicians can access patient data on mobile devices
  • only 23% of clinicians can perform workflow management tasks on mobile
  • only 12% can communicate with patients and their families via mobile devices.


Held in Las Vegas from 5–9 March, HIMSS 2018 brought together more than 45,000 professionals from around the world for five days of education, innovation and collaboration to help uncover the promise of health information and technology.


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