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3 reasons why healthcare CIOs love wearables

Scott Nelson | Jan. 29, 2016
Healthcare CIOs have been given a great gift for their efforts to deal with the transformation from pay-for-service to pay-for-value -- wearable devices. Strategically minded CIOs will aggressively take action to help their organization leverage this technology for big data analytics and population health management.

But there is no population heath management if the caregiving system does not survey the population for which it is accountable.  Wearables are the answer to this problem and healthcare CIOs who embrace wearables become critical to the solution.  Wearable devices are like BYOD on steroids but this is a challenge CIO’s have learned to overcome. CIOs will be asked to integrate patient wearable devices into operations without violating compliance, privacy, or continuity of access to the data stream.  More important they will be asked to help assure the quality of the data that streams out of every patient’s everyday life.  But have no doubt, wearable data is going to be a key to the new Fee-for-Value care models.

3. Wearable data is easy

This final point may be counter-intuitive and a little dramatic.  But acquiring and using wearable data, from an IT perspective, is easy.  The reason is that the wearable device makers make it easy to get access to the data because easy data means more device buyers.  Device makers like FitBit are now also offering HIPAA compliance.  The device manufacturers deliver interoperability through their APIs and thus support the advantages of federated architectures.  Access to the data is granted by the patient and immediately becomes part of the big data solutions over which the healthcare system has control.  No translation required, no interoperability initiative, no special EMR device integration to manage.  Yes, the PGHD still has to be integrated in the operational workflow, but that is exactly the function for which the CIO is accountable and that is the opportunity to create strategic advantage working with the organization’s operational leaders. 

Wearable technology is wonderful gift for the rapidly changing world of accountable care.  The devices connect patients into the caregiving system in a way that has previously only been possible during in-hospital care. The streams of data wearables make possible allow the healthcare organization to leverage the emerging cognitive tools now offered by IoT technology leaders like IBM. The combination of big data and these new analytic systems will inform and assist caregivers with all aspects of the patients life in an immediate, actionable manner. 

That is if the CIO does not look this gift horse in the mouth.


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