Virtualization, EHR-Linked Devices, m-Health to Lead Health Care IT in 2011: Analysts

By Brian T. Horowitz  |  Posted 2010-12-28 Print this article Print

title=Mobile Health Technology Remains Unprofitable}

With each hospital using its own security systems for areas such as identity, lab access and EHRs, one log-in for all of these systems will allow IT departments to maintain tighter control of access, Shah noted.

Provisioning and deprovisioning log-in credentials will be easier with a single-sign-on procedure, according to Shah.

In 2010 there were a number of security breaches in health care, including one in which sensitive WellPoint health care data was accessible from a public URL when an employee at the health plan failed to implement security procedures while updating the SiteMinder authentication and log-in application.

4: Health information exchange standards will become clearer

As with the broad compatibility of e-mail networks such as Google, Hotmail and Yahoo, the health care industry needs a way to exchange information across different EHR systems and images from lab tests across various platforms.

Initiatives leading toward interoperability of HIEs (health information exchanges) include the NHIN (Nationwide Health Information Network), organized by the federal government.

Another initiative to watch for in 2011 is the Direct Project, according to Shah.

"The Direct Project is allowing sets of interoperability standards and codes to allow two physicians to send health data to each other only by knowing their health data address," he explained.

On Nov. 18 IBM and Aetna's ActiveHealth division collaborated to build an HIE for residents in Puerto Rico, while Verizon launched its HIE on July 14 to allow physicians to share medical records in a standard format.

5: Mobile health players will seek a business model

Pilot projects are operating in developing areas, such as India, Africa and South America, that use mobile phones as a vehicle for health information communication. However, mobile-health applications have yet to present a way for IT companies to make money, according to Shah.

Mobile health providers will want to find a way to make money from mobile health apps and SMS texting with doctors and pharmacies, Shah suggested.

"What we're going to see in 2011 and going forward is can we turn those into sustainable business models that clearly show you can save money, reduce cost, improve revenue, etc," he said.

Mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads have been used in countries such as the United States to run health applications, but mobile users in third world countries turn to ordinary cell phones with less CPU power to send SMS texts between doctors and patients.

Research firm Ovum has predicted that smartphones and tablets will lead a consumerization of health care technology in 2011.

Recently NaviNet-which acquired Prematics, a mobile care management firm-moved to bolster its health care network on mobile devices, and with the upcoming launch of the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and its support for Flash and touch screen finger gestures to zoom in on medical images, the m-health market could explode.

Still, monetization challenges remain, according to Shah.

"People understand that m-health will work technically," Shah said. "Now how do we make it pay for itself so the business and technology side can be tied together going forward?"



Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company,, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents,, USA Weekend and, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.

Follow him on Twitter: @bthorowitz


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