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Healthcare innovation creating undue expectations

The healthcare industry should put security first when integrating new software and hardware into care and business processes.

In recent years, rapid software developments have spurred innovators, entrepreneurs and programmers to get together to build the next big technology ideas. These innovators are often able to put together a quick prototype and proof of their concept. Following this plan, there have been many healthcare startups that have gathered funding and support for their projects.

Healthcare innovation events such as MIT Hacking Medicine have encouraged the development of several new health apps. Though these developments all represent technological progress, they have -- combined with recent indications derived from the Gartner Hype Cycle, the Internet of Things and wearable devices -- created a state of inflated expectations. As developers observe software products becoming easier to build, more consumer-friendly and accessible, this trend may come to hardware development.

Processors use less power, are more powerful and take up a lot less space, while remaining relatively affordable. Today, a powerful computing device can contain a number of sensors and still fit in the palm of your hand. For these reasons Microsoft and Intel have entered the mini PC/chip board arena with products such as Sharks Cove and Galileo.

There are other hardware options in the marketplace, such as Raspberry Pi. These products are likely going to drive more development of small hardware, some of which will include healthcare-specific uses. Today's products allow users to collect and share data from sensors, cameras, GPS, near field communication, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and audio. There are endless healthcare innovations that can leverage these systems and incorporate them in helping patients at home, in their cars, or when they're admitted to a hospital.

The biggest challenges that medical devices will continue to face are security threats. Traditionally, small medical devices rarely included robust security features. As more Internet-connected medical devices come to the healthcare marketplace, they will bring data protection issues with them.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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