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Consumerization of healthcare loomed large in 2018 stories

Our top stories for 2018 are linked by one common and significant trend: The consumerization of healthcare continues to shake things up.

The political battle over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act may have been the biggest healthcare story of the year, but -- ironically in the tech world -- collaboration and more openness were the hallmarks of health IT in 2018. Our top 10 most popular stories for 2018 show how the confluence of value-based care and technology is driving the consumerization of healthcare.

News from Google and Apple -- such as partnering with Fitbit or connecting patient health records to mobile apps -- factors heavily into this list, as do advanced technologies, like hybrid cloud computing, mobile devices and artificial intelligence.

If recent headlines suggest anything, it's that health IT professionals should expect more of the same next year. For now, here's a countdown of the top 10 most read health IT stories based on page views.

10. Medical imaging storage strategies aim for the cloud

Storing medical images in the cloud may be inevitable, but this story outlines why a mix of public and private cloud-based services could be more attractive than a full-blown cloud deployment. One healthcare IT pro's take: A hybrid approach gives organizations access to expensive tools and cheap storage, but keeps the most sensitive and mission-critical data on premises.

9. Mobile healthcare apps becoming increasingly popular

Mobile healthcare apps are making it easier for patients to schedule appointments and tap into personal information, but they're also helping connect patients to their providers. This story begins to chip away at the consumerization of healthcare trend by detailing how Partners HealthCare cribs from Uber's playbook to better help patients to get the basic care they need.

8. HIMSS 2018 focuses on AI in healthcare

A preview story for the HIMSS 2018 conference warned attendees that they should be ready to talk about AI -- from clinical applications to business applications. As the chief analytics officer quoted in this story put it, better algorithms, more data and more computational power have created "the perfect storm," and there's no escaping it.

7. Cybersecurity in healthcare ails from lack of IT talent

Healthcare organizations are under more attack from cybercriminals than they were two years ago, according to a Ponemon Institute survey. While health IT CIOs are setting aside more money for cybersecurity, this story documents how they're still falling short on proper employee training and recruitment of security experts.

6. Considerations for transgender patient documentation in EHRs

Most electronic medical records treat sexuality as a binary, which is insufficient for transgender patients. This story provides advice on what EHR vendors can -- and what they shouldn't -- do to change that.

5. Guide to cloud computing in healthcare

The maturation of the cloud has affected every industry, and healthcare is no different. This guide is a compilation of stories on the topic and includes a deep dive into the security challenges and benefits for the healthcare industry, as well as where the cloud trend in healthcare is going.

4. Apple's health app may reshape patient engagement

Consultant Reda Chouffani's column looked at an iOS update that connects Apple's health app to a customer's medical record. And he postured that the advance will spark competition and pave the way for even more advanced features, such as virtual assistants. 

3. Healthcare digital transformation maps new patient journey

The same pressures that drove the consumerization of IT are driving the consumerization of healthcare. Patients want easier access to data, need that data to be searchable and are happy to hand over appointment-scheduling duties to new products, such as smart speakers. It's another way of saying, as this story does, that digital transformation for the healthcare industry can't begin and end with the electronic medical record.   

2. Google, Fitbit, startups storm into healthcare AI

Every technology company is a healthcare company? This story from HLTH: The Future of Healthcare conference certainly makes it seem that way by documenting Google's effort to integrate AI into its healthcare offerings, Fitbit's move into the space altogether and their joint collaboration.

1. Four healthcare trends to watch in 2018

This year's most popular story laid out four technology trends that SearchHealthIT writers and editors thought would make a splash this year. Some were dead on; others not so much -- ahem, blockchain, ahem.

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