There is a chance that most patients already make use of one form of wearable health device or another, including the popular Fitbits, Apple Watches, Garmins, etc. Although these wearable devices provide data valuable to physicians, integrating the technology into the present-day healthcare model is not all that common.
According to Karl Poterack, M.D., applied clinical informatics at Mayo Clinic, there will be a ruin of data when wearable devices used in tracking health data are integrated with healthcare organizations.
This data needs a storage system, and there have to be clarifications on who owns the data, the purpose for collection, as well as what happens to the data when it has been transmitted to hospitals, which have different rules on data collection under HIPAA.
The medical director says a massive infrastructure will have to be set up to handle these concerns as well as the volume of wearable data that is out there. Adequate research must establish benchmarks for this data before anyone will consider investing.
The main challenge is what the healthcare system will do with the available data and how it can be linked to outcomes. It is not yet clear how wearable data can be interfaced into usable formats that are digestible for electronic medical records and clinicians. A good example of how health applications such medical monitoring devices and wearables can be integrated into current patient care is piloted by one of the largest hospitals in the Middle East known as Sheba Medical Center in Israel.
Patient compliance rates have increased with the use of wearables. Patients who are monitored remotely do not need to take public transportation or drive to hospitals for face-to-face or in-person sessions.
Cybersecurity: Top Concerns with Electronic Medical Records
Cybersecurity has become a primary concern, even as healthcare continues to become more interconnected. Many healthcare facilities have become the targets of several high-profile attacks by hackers, which have affected millions of health records. This could open up facilities to liabilities and bring about significant disruptions in patient care, especially if data is blocked by hackers or systems are shut down remotely.
What most people think is that the security of digital systems is limited to patient data in the EMR. Healthcare information technology experts at HIMSS have stated that the biggest threats to healthcare facilities are those back-door computer systems that are not updated or encrypted for security.
Protenus, a healthcare analytics firm, says more than 32 million patient records were penetrated between January and June 2019, doubling about 15 million medical records hacked in 2018. This happens when hackers access hospital network via a wireless inventory connection with a vending machine. Therefore, several HIMSS vendors drew attention to their security software for ancillary devices that are connected to the HIS (hospital information systems), PACS (picture archiving and communication systems), or EMR.
These devices include: