This content is part of the Conference Coverage: HIMSS 2016 conference coverage and analysis
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Hospitals ready for more connected health, according to HIMSS survey

Nearly half of U.S. hospitals are considering expanding the collection of connected health technologies used in their facilities. That notion, and the concept that providers implement healthcare technology to extend patient care outside of their exam rooms, were two of the findings of the 2016 HIMSS Connected Health Survey, the results of which were released during the HIMSS 2016 conference held in Las Vegas.

The HIMSS survey results were based off the responses of 227 health IT, clinical and informatics professionals that work in U.S. hospitals and health systems. The 47% of that group that said their organizations were likely to add to their connected health assortments were asked to specify which technology they would be implementing next. The three most common answers were telehealth, patient-generated data applications and text messaging.

More than half of all respondents stated that their healthcare organization presently deploys at least three connected health technologies. Many connected health technologies allow physicians to consult and interact with patients outside the setting of a traditional doctor’s visit. Nearly 60% of respondents said their organizations have mobile optimized patient portals, 48% use mobile patient engagement apps and 37% have some kind of remote patient monitoring technology.

Tom Martin, director of Healthcare Information Systems for HIMSS, commented on how the introduction of new technology can open up more ways to care for patients. “The role of the provider is to expand far beyond the walls of the exam room, especially as our healthcare system transitions towards value based purchasing,” Martin said in the HIMSS survey release.

Though expanding the reach of physicians through technological means provides physicians with a convenient way to perform certain aspects of their jobs, the introduction of additional endpoint devices can expose their organizations to possible hacks and security breaches. However, the survey report contained a result that may ease those concerns. Of the respondents that stated their hospitals deploy mobile patient portals, 69% said their focus on the mobile setting increased their ability to securely send and receive patient data.