These 10 Healthcare Technologies are Impacting C-Suite Decision Making (Part 1 of 2)

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When interviewing various C-suite executives from healthcare organizations around the country, HCE frequently asks them about the trends they’re seeing in the marketplace, especially in the IT department.

In our next two posts, we’re going to take a look at an article by Ryan Chiavetta and Chelsea Rice from HealthLeaders Media that details the 10 C-Suite Watch List, a compilation of technologies or areas of technology the ECRI Institute believes healthcare executives should be watching closely.

The first technology on their list is rather obvious: electronic health records. Advancement of this technology isn’t what you should be watching here, Chiavetta and Rice report, but you should be keeping an eye on the increasing concern over “the rush to achieve Stage 1 [Meaningful Use]” and the impact that is having on patient safety.

They write, “While few errors involving health information technology have been reported, there have been instances of patient harm associated with those errors, which included four fatalities.” The authors list inaccurate data entry, data-transfer problems, and general system malfunctions as some of the errors affecting patient safety.

The second technology on the 10 C-Suite Watch List is mhealth or mobile applications. Chiavetta and Rice note, “Mobile health technologies are mutually beneficial to both physicians and patients, allowing both groups to set reminders, monitor a patient’s progress, and stay in communication with the provider.”

Third, alarm integration technology is being increasingly implemented as “alarm fatigue” sets in, “with some hospitals experiencing 350 physiologic monitor alarms per patient per day,” the authors report. Alarm integration systems “improve alarm management by sending alerts to a wireless communications device, such as a cell phone or a pager. Doing so not only combats alarm fatigue among clinicians, but provides a quieter environment for patients.”

Minimally invasive cardiac surgery is the fourth technology on the 10 C-Suite Watch List, mainly because of CMS’ “coverage determination for transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) under multiple, specific conditions.” Hospitals are exploring various ways to comply with these conditions, Chiavetta and Rice write, such as “an on-site heart valve surgery program, and two cardiac surgeons to examine potential replacement patients,” but “they are also assessing efficiencies that may be gained from hybrid ORs or the hybrid cath lab model.”

The fifth item is a frequent topic in HCE’s conversations with executives: imaging and surgery and the highly priced full-scale angiography systems that are taking over ORs “in order to help hospitals guide high-risk minimally invasive surgery, combine open and minimally invasive surgery, and verify the successful completion of surgery in the OR.” Here, the need to meet increasing vascular and cardiovascular surgery volumes seems to be taking precedent over the financial and facility complications that come with these hybrid OR systems that feature both a CT and MRI.

In our next post, we’ll look at the final five technologies on ECRI’s list. In the meantime, what are your experiences with the technologies listed above? Have you implemented any of them within your facility or system? What have you learned from the implementation?

-by Pete Fernbaugh

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