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Health IT Forum Focuses on Mobile Devices, Security

Two men at health IT forum

Mobile devices are revolutionizing the health care system for patients and medical providers. Using this new technology wisely and securely is the goal of the health information technology experts who talked about trends in the field during a Health IT Forum at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

The Health IT Forum series, held four times a year, is a community partnership co-sponsored by Montgomery County Department of Economic Development, the TechCouncil of Maryland and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The May forum, titled “mHealth: Bring Your Own Device,” attracted dozens of IT experts from the region.

Dwight Raum, chief technology officer at Johns Hopkins Health System, was one of the panelists. The other panelists were Ram Sriram, chief of the software and systems division, Information Laboratory, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); and Ramon Balut, chief information security officer at MedStar Health.

The keynote speaker was Jacob Reider, acting principal deputy national coordinator and chief medical officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.People gather at health IT forum

Reider discussed how technology can be used to achieve better health, better care and lower costs – often referred to as the “triple aim” in the health care system. “Through health information technology, we will empower health delivery organizations to reach the triple aim,” Reider said. Reider talked about how approximately 25 percent of doctors don’t complete their notes from patient visits. But as doctors and patients increasingly communicate electronically, those conversations automatically will be documented, perhaps eventually eliminating the need for pen-and-paper doctor notes.

Reider and the panelists talked about how as technology evolves and patients want quick, easy access to health records and medical advice, issues of security, privacy and convenience became paramount. The passage of the Affordable Care Act and its provisions about health providers becoming “meaningful users” of health information technology are further propelling these topics to the forefront of discussion.

Sriram, of NIST, talked about the need to build better software that meets adequate privacy and security standards. He had the audience envision an asthma patient, out for a walk. The patient’s mobile device would indicate to the patient that pollen counts are high, ask whether he or she has an inhaler and if not, send information about a nearby pharmacy and tell the doctor to send in a prescription. That’s the future, he said, but the information must be secure.

Raum, of Johns Hopkins Health System, talked about using technology to inform doctors about the total health of patients. He also discussed the Health System’s work on meeting the requirements of meaningful use and developing electronic health records. Raum said the Health System undertakes a risk assessment process for every application so they understand where the data live, how the data are encrypted and how well the application interacts with electronic medical records.

Balut, of MedStar Health, talked about the need for technology developers to balance consumer friendly features with security.

The next Health IT forum will be scheduled for the fall.

CATEGORY: In The Community