What can Office 365 bring to health care?

Microsoft has constantly been at the front of enterprise IT innovation, and for good reason. The company has a large suite of services that can help companies achieve their full efficiency potential, with perhaps the most important of these being Office 365. The Office collection of productivity tools has been a mainstay in the business world for decades, and the latest iteration is no different.

That said, certain industries like health care are hesitant to make a move on newer technologies. Medical facilities often have a very specific way of doing things, and changing up the regular routine can seem to be extremely disruptive. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Office 365 has a host of benefits for those working within this sector that simply cannot be ignored.

Incredible security

“When it comes to health care IT, the most important factor to consider is security.”

Of course, when it comes to health care IT, the most important factor to consider is security. Medical records carry a host of personally identifiable information, and if that data is compromised, it could lead to stolen identities or worse. In fact, this is such a huge issue that the federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HIPAA is regulatory legislation that governs how medical facilities can handle patient information. It’s basically designed to harshly penalize any actions that could lead to a breach. What’s more, a violation doesn’t have to be malicious or negligent. HIPAA Journal reported that a hospital can violate a rule completely by accident and still be liable for payments of up to $50,000 per incident.

With so much on the line, it’s no wonder that so many health care administrators are hesitant to change their current IT routine. What’s more, this fear of change has even generated the rumor that Office 365 cannot meet the security needs of a modern medical organization. Of course, this simply isn’t true.

Office 365 actually has more stringent standards than many other tools on the market, and we firmly stand behind the statement that you couldn’t build a more secure environment. Hospitals looking to improve security measures can seriously benefit from an Office 365 deployment.

Lower upfront costs

Outside of security, many medical facilities also have to deal with the constraint of tight budgets for the IT department. Running something like a hospital is incredibly expensive. Between the salaries for highly-trained professionals and the ever-increasing reliance on costly equipment, health care institutions just don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the technology solutions they use.

This is yet another area where Office 365 can help out. This suite of tools doesn’t require any pricey upfront costs, instead relying on a reasonable monthly fee. This allows organizations to make the switch to Office 365 without having to allocate a huge amount of money toward the venture right from the start.

Less maintenance work for IT departments

Another problem most health care organizations have to deal with is an overworked staff. Just about every department in a hospital is overrun with important tasks, but IT is very often one of the most strained departments in any medical facility. In fact, the 2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey found that 84 percent of these institutions had hired an IT worker in the past year, showing that there is an almost constant demand for experienced technology professionals.

Those in IT are often stressed. IT workers are very often overworked.

Clearly, hospital IT departments have a very full schedule, and performing general maintenance on productivity tools is just another fire to put out. This is where working with an outside partner to develop an Office 365 solution comes into play. ISG Technology professionals can manage these issues for your organization, freeing up employees to work on internal projects.

However, it’s important to note here that such a deployment isn’t a threat to anybody’s job. ISG Technology doesn’t want to downsize your IT department, we want to help it crawl out from under the mountain of maintenance problems they have to deal with. Our IT experts are trained to make your life easier, so contact us today and find out what an Office 365 solution from ISG Technology can do for your business.

What can health care get out of data mining?

Data is being created and stored at a rate unparalleled by any other time in human history. As such, the analysis of this information in order to discover trends has never been as important as it is now. This is especially true within health care, an industry that quite literally deals with life-or-death situations on a daily basis. Mining the data created by both patients and medical professionals has major implications for the field.

With that said, what can health care facilities get out of data mining, and what challenges stand in the way of this trend?

Efficiency while still being effective

As with most other industries, the main benefits of proper data mining are increases in both efficiency and client satisfaction. Knowing how consumers act and what they do can help employees better service them, while also decreasing time spent in areas that aren’t as productive. In health care, a good example of this is the mining of Medicaid data by the Wyoming Department of Health.

Officials from this agency decided that they were spending too much money on certain payments, and worked with Xerox to properly analyze the information they had been collecting for some time. This mining proved fruitful in many areas, but the most important one was emergency room visits. The analysis revealed that there was a sizeable portion of Medicaid patients that were going to the ER more than 10 times per year, according to Healthcare IT News contributor Erin McCann.

ER doctors are very busy and don't have time to deal with repeat visitors. Having too many people in the ER is a waste of time and resources.

Two or three trips to the ER is just a bad year, but more than 10 visits means that something has gone wrong. This prompted Wyoming Medicaid employees to call these patients, verifying their status and taking steps to increase their level of personal care at home. The state also instituted a 24/7 nurse hotline to allow Medicaid patients to call in for medical help rather than going to the hospital. This enabled Wyoming to lower the costs of Medicaid ER visits by more than 20 percent, showing just how effective proper health care data mining can be.

The human element is the main disadvantage

“One of the biggest snags data mining has run into is human error.”

As it always is with technological innovations, one of the biggest snags data mining has run into is human error. Something as simple as accidentally including an extra data set due to sleep deprivation can have a major impact on the usefulness of the analysis. In fact, this problem is so apparent that an entire scientific paper sponsored by the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society was written on the subject.

The report – which was co-authored by Cheng-Jhe Lin, Changxu Wu and Wanpracha A. Chaovalitwongse – stated that researchers wishing to do away with human error must take a two-pronged approach. First, officials must take a top-down approach for implementing behavior modeling. These administrators must show employees what is expected of them if they ever hope to properly mine data. After this, analysts must take a bottom-up approach in order to determine who is making the most errors, as well as how many mistakes each person will most likely make in the future.

Data mining may have some hurdles to overcome in terms of human error, but this certainly won’t stop the process from continuing to work its way into health care. The medical industry is all about efficiency, and proper analysis of big data sets can help doctors and nurses improve patient care. What’s more, as the Wyoming Medicaid example shows, data mining can also help administrators determine where resources and time are being wasted, therefore giving them the ability to make changes to improve overall productivity.

IT infrastructure challenges: Big data in healthcare

One of the most common issues within the medical industry is deciding how to manage all of the data being generated on a near-constant basis. The amount of information created by hospitals and health clinics is astounding and isn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

In general, big data is increasing at an accelerated rate across every industry. The IDC predicted in November 2015 that by 2019, spending on big data infrastructure and services would reach a total value of 48.6 billion, growing at a compound annual rate of 23 percent. This is a clear indication that organizations are learning that they need specific tools to measure and analyze the data they collect.

What is all of this information being used for? Let’s take an in-depth look at how the healthcare industry tackles big data:

“Data provides a good foundation for making value-based decisions.”

Value-based purchasing

Big data is helping the medical industry make better decisions about what tools are going to help patients the most. According to HealthcareITNews, the Affordable Care Act has created an incentive for hospitals to prove their value – but how to do that? Data, it turns out, is providing a good foundation for making these value-based decisions.

The value of pharmaceutical and medical devices can be quantified by determining how these tools are being used to help patients. For instance, an organization can measure quality-adjusted life years.

“At its core, big data is about massive amounts of electronic patient information that can be mined to yield tailored medical results,” Scott Zeger, director of HopkinsinHealth and a biostatistics professor at Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Health Data Management.

In other words, it all comes down to how medical tools are being used to increase the quality of life for patients and improve outcomes, which the analysis of big data can shed light on.

Medical instruments and pharmaceuticals are given value based on how they're used to improve outcomes.Medical instruments and pharmaceuticals are given value based on how they’re used to improve outcomes.

Storage issue: Genomic research

One challenge presented by big data is the question of where all the generated healthcare information is going to reside. The problem of storage is a very real one, especially in an industry that’s governed by compliance regulations and strict legal boundaries. To that end, the big data storage problem is nowhere as acute as it is with human genomic research.

A report published in July 2015 in the scientific journal PLoS Biology found that by 2025, between 100 million and 2 billion human genomes could be sequenced. This sequencing is going to create as many as 40 exabytes of data. To put that in perspective, here’s a fun fact: According to High Scalability, as of 2012, every word spoken by every human throughout history only adds up to about 5 exabytes of data. This creates an issue with data management within the healthcare space.

What’s the answer?

Some say that cloud infrastructure offers a ready answer to the challenges presented by big data in the healthcare industry. No matter how big your big data problems are, at ISG Technology, we can help you find solutions that will meet your needs. Whether you want to store your data in the cloud or in on-premises environments, our managed services experts will know what the answer is. Contact us today for more information.

What are the risks of hybrid cloud?

Hybrid IT infrastructure is quickly becoming one of the biggest trends of the current decade, and this strategy can sometimes include hybrid cloud deployments. According to the RightScale 2015 State of the Cloud Report, 82 percent of surveyed enterprises were running a hybrid cloud strategy, and Data Center Knowledge stated in mid 2015 that adoption of these technologies was expected to triple by 2018. The benefits of embracing hybrid cloud are clear: Companies are able to improve IT flexibility and choose solutions that fit their specific needs, all while maximizing cost efficiency and asset utilization, according to FierceCIO contributor David Weldon.

As adoption goes up and more companies look into deploying hybrid strategies within their IT departments, so too do the number of issues that arise in dealing with the new technologies that hybrid cloud brings to the table. Let’s take a look at the biggest risks when it comes to cloud and hybrid IT, then discuss strategies for dealing with these issues:

“Software and application changes occur on the provider’s side.

1. Loss of control

The CIO’s job is to manage risk within his or her company, and as such may view that total control over every part of the technology strategy of the organization is necessary. However, when cloud-based tools are utilized, software and application changes occur on the provider’s side, meaning IT executives may not have a say. Therefore, according to CIO contributor Shoeb Javed, one of the most important risks of hybrid cloud computing is the perceived loss of control on the part of the CIO and other members of the executive board.

“Applications change all the time, and when those applications are outside the company’s control, they could be caught unprepared when a sudden software update occurs,” Tripwire contributor Rick Delgado stated. “A single application change can create integration problems with other programs, leading to major disruptions among the most critical business applications.”

2. Cloud security

A lot has been said lately about the cloud and its apparent inherent risks as far as security is concerned. The market for cloud security tools keeps going up by the day, and it’s expected to reach a total value of $8.71 billion by 2019, according to a 2014 report published by MarketsandMarkets. This is a clear indication that security is on the minds of industry CIOs.

There are a few main security challenges for organizations that deploy hybrid cloud strategies, according to TechTarget. These include risk management, security management and poorly constructed service-level agreements. Most of these problems stem from the complications that can arise when private and public cloud are both used in conjunction with one another – managing two kinds of deployments can be a complex task for IT teams.

3. Compliance

This is an issue that goes along with the aforementioned security challenge. Businesses have to ensure that all parts of their cloud strategy are compliant with any industry regulations. It’s crucial to ensure the data traveling between private and public cloud environments is secure, as well.

For instance, organizations within the healthcare sector have to prove that their systems are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which designates strict security standards for protected health information. If a business works with payment card data, it is subject to the rules set forth by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. All of these regulations need to be managed properly, and in certain circumstances, hybrid IT could complicate effective management strategies.

Companies that work with payment card data need to make sure their hybrid cloud deployments are secure and compliant.Companies that work with payment card data need to make sure their hybrid cloud deployments are secure and compliant.

Worth the challenge

Considering the risks of hybrid IT is one of the most important responsibilities of the technology department of any organization. However, the many benefits of investing in hybrid infrastructure outweigh these risks when they’re managed effectively. That’s why having a managed services partner around to help your organization deal with these hybrid cloud risks is not only a great idea – it’s essential to a successful hybrid IT strategy.

When you partner with a company like ISG Technology, you can rest assured that the risks of migrating data to and from virtual environments will be orchestrated by cloud experts. Get in touch today to find out more about how our hybrid cloud solutions fit your business needs.

Involve IT in strategic planning

When it comes to ensuring business continuity and keeping all parts working properly, it’s crucial for communications between departments to be easy and effective. You especially want interactions between executives and IT administrators to be productive. In those conversations, if there is any kind of disconnect with either party, bottom lines could suffer.

How does the proper implementation of IT impact corporate objectives? Having the right technology solution in place can make a difference in the long run across the board, but decision-makers sometimes don’t consult their IT departments before investing in something new. According to InformationWeek contributor Andrew Froehlich, this may be due in part to the fact that new technologies are constantly coming out, sometimes so quickly that tech staff can’t keep up.

Shadow IT is creating cybersecurity vulnerabilities for enterprises.Shadow IT is creating cybersecurity vulnerabilities for enterprises.

Shadow IT is compounding this issue even further. With the continued implementation of bring-your-own-device policies, extraneous technologies make their way into companies’ networks. Employees are carrying their own smartphones and tablets into the workplace and downloading different – and perhaps unapproved – applications to use with their jobs. This creates cybersecurity and compliance issues due to the entrance of unknown actors on the network.

For instance, one study on the information systems of health care organizations from 2014 found that the average provider has 928 cloud services running on its systems – only 10 percent of which are known to their IT departments. In addition, only 7 percent of the total cloud are compliant with industry-specific standards. These kinds of statistics illustrate why it’s crucial for the IT department to be involved in the decision-making process of any company. To ensure compliance and maintain security, technology teams and executives need to be on the same page.

What’s the solution?

“Communication between IT staff and the executive board needs to be efficient.”

Different departments need to work together to elicit the best outcome for a business – meaning that to achieve the best bottom line, communication between IT staff and the executive board needs to be efficient. Computer Weekly contributor Marc Cercere noted that the agendas of both the business technology and IT departments are equally as important to focus on and improve.

For instance, due to the increase in shadow IT and the continuing focus on cybersecurity across every industry, the IT department should be consulted about any change to the business’s technology strategy. Instead of implementing tech “solutions” that may or may not solve a company’s problems, getting the go-ahead from the IT department allows every portion of the company to work in unison toward the same goal.

In today’s business climate, technology should align with corporate objectives. You want IT to work in your favor. If relationships within your business between executives and the IT department aren’t up to par, costly disconnect can occur and business processes can be hampered.

You want to make sure you’re keeping the IT department looped into the discussion about new tools and strategies, and that can be made simpler when partnering with a managed service provider. Get in touch with the managed services professionals at ISG Technology today to see how our expertise can contribute to your specific objectives.

Leveraging data boom to solve medical mysteries

The Internet has made accessing vast amounts of information both easy and affordable,and is dramatically improving the research processes of many industries. One sector in particular that has benefited from the convenient access offered by the Internet is health care.

With new innovations like electronic health records, hospitals and doctor's offices are able to compile and share medical information digitally and greatly improve their knowledge of specific diseases and treatment options. Big data initiatives are also starting to play a major role in health care, with organizations using the vast amounts of available information to draw conclusions that may otherwise have gone unseen.

IBM is now looking to throw its hat in the ring in an effort to improve sharing and analysis of health data with the creation of its Watson Health business unit. The unit, which launched in early April, aims to use big data analytics and mobile technology to help doctors, researchers, insurers and patients achieve better health outcomes. Watson Health will offer cloud-based access to IBM's Watson supercomputer to enable healthcare professionals to analyze medical data. IBM has also partnered with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to make it easier for health care organizations to store and analyze patient data.

Taking advantage of the data boom

"Each person creates 1 million GB of medical data throughout their lifetime."

Watson Health allows users to take advantage of the cognitive capabilities of Watson and create "new health-based offerings that leverage information collected from personal health, medical and fitness devices," providing "better insights, real-time feedback and recommendations to improve everything from personal health and wellness to acute and chronic care," according to a release from IBM.

IBM's Watson supercomputer may hold the key to solving medical mysteries.IBM's Watson supercomputer may hold the key to solving medical mysteries.

Watson Health operates on a rather basic premise: Each person creates approximately 1 million gigabytes of medical data throughout their lifetime, so why not use that information to create positive health outcomes and fuel new research? A recent report by IDC Health Insights predicted that 80 percent of health care data will pass through the cloud at some point in its lifetime by 2020. The study went on to predict that this shift to the cloud will drive 70 percent of health care organizations to invest in consumer-facing mobile apps by 2018. With so much digital health information being created, and more being made all the time, there has never been a better time to use such data to improve health care and patients' quality of life.

The Watson supercomputer is able to adapt and learn based on information it is fed. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York has been inputting medical literature focused on cancer into Watson for more than three years, and the computer has used the data to learn how cancer has been treated traditionally, and perhaps eventually create new, progressive treatment options.

"What Watson can do is look at all your medical records – he has been fed and taught by all the best doctors in the world – and comes up with what are the probable diagnosis, percent of confidence, the why, rationale, odds and conflicts," said Ginni Rometty, chairman and CEO of IBM.

Rometty explained that there is differing potential for false results when diagnosing different types of cancer. Watson's first task is analyzing data on melanoma and figuring out how to determine whether a melanoma is actually cancerous.

According to Rometty, this is the ideal time to launch Watson Health because three technologies essential to the project – big data, cloud and mobility –  are converging and enabling medical breakthroughs. These main technologies already comprise more than one-quarter of IBM's business and Watson Health plans to capitalize on that.

Anthem Health Insurance latest company to suffer massive breach

America’s second largest health insurance company announced in early February that it had fallen victim to a data breach that may have exposed the data of millions of clients. Anthem Health Insurance admitted that the names, birth dates, addresses, Social Security numbers and income data for as many as 80 million clients and employees were potentially compromised due to a lack of encryption. The company said that there is no evidence that financial or medical information was accessed during the breach.

With a toll in the tens of millions, the cyberattack could be the largest breach of a healthcare company ever, putting it on par with the breaches that took place at Target and Home Depot. The “very sophisticated external cyberattack” exposed the information of so many people that even the insurer’s chief executive was affected. Numerous brands of health plans are operated by Anthem, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia, Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Insufficient protection leaves data at risk
In a statement posted on the company’s website, Anthem claimed to have a state-of-the-art security system in place to protect privileged information, but the two most valuable pieces of data for identity thieves – Social Security numbers and birth dates –  were not encrypted. Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Anthem has had client information exposed. A 2012 lawsuit between Anthem Blue Cross and the California Attorney General was settled after a claim that the insurer compromised 33,000 members of their plan when they sent letters with Social Security numbers clearly visible in the envelope windows. In 2013, the company again exposed the Social Security numbers of an undisclosed number of doctors and healthcare providers in a document posted to Anthem’s website.

While the information involved in the breach is not included under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Anthem will still likely face lawsuits from those affected as they had plenty of warning that such an event was possible. Last summer, the FBI issued healthcare organizations a warning that hackers were targeting them more frequently in the wake of a large scale data breach against Community Health Systems in which 4.5 million patients had their data stolen. While the threat of data breaches have increased in every industry, the risks are even higher for healthcare organizations where companies keep massive amounts of personal information in large databases.

Using the cloud to track the flu

Last year, in the midst of the government shutdown, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was left unable to monitor the movement of flu outbreaks in the country. While tracking the flu may not seem like such a major task, healthcare providers across the country rely on information from the CDC to know what to expect from the patient population in order to appropriately stock necessary supplies. To make matters worse, the shutdown occurred at the beginning of October, just about the time flu season was kicking into high gear.

To fill the void left by the CDC, athenahealth stepped in and used its resources to get the job done with the help of cloud computing. athenahealth, an electronic health record and billing management company, used its expansive online database to look at flu-related claims in real time in order to identify patterns regarding where outbreaks of the virus were occurring.

While there are other cloud-based services that perform a similar task, they often provide less precise information. Google Flu Trends, for instance, measures outbreaks based on flu-related searches in a certain area which can cause overestimates about the number of doctor's visits actually taking place. The results gathered by athenahealth's cloud database, on the other hand, were in line with previous CDC statistics, suggesting a high level of accuracy.

Cloud-based health initiatives gaining traction
Now that the shutdown is over, cloud-based tracking systems are still being utilized. This year, data gathered from electronic health records from across the country and stored in the cloud have made it possible for health professionals to see that early cases of the flu are beginning to occur more frequently. Because cloud-based data from EHRs tracks information collected during visits to the doctor, trends can be tracked on a daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, allowing for a more accurate view of the trajectory of the virus. For instance, information gathered by athenahealth showed that patients visiting pediatricians that have been diagnosed with influenza-like illnesses increased almost 1 percent between Nov.9 and Nov.22.

A similar program by athenahealth subsidiary Epocrates was launched last year to provide doctors with important information about other kinds of health issues.  Called "bug+drugs," the program offers healthcare professionals a mobile app that uses de-identified patient data from the more than 43,000 providers using athenahealth's cloud-based software to help doctors identify antibiotic-resistant bacteria, like staph infections and E. coli, prevalent in their communities. The campaign is part of a larger effort to use the cloud to geo-locate specific health issues based on patients' ZIP codes.

While private, cloud-based healthcare companies aren't going to start taking over the job of the CDC, they are beginning to provide a larger number of services that benefit public health initiatives. Realizing the advantages of the help athenahealth provided while the CDC was unable to operate, the Ohio Department of Health now receives flu data from the company on a weekly basis. Other public health departments are utilizing the cloud to track the movements of diseases, and a variety of aid organizations in Africa are using the cloud to monitor the spread of the Ebola epidemic.

Aid workers fight Ebola with unified communications

As Ebola continues to spread across West Africa, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is partnering with Airtel, an Indian service provider, and the government of Sierra Leone in order to send health reminders through widespread text messaging campaigns.

Since last April, when the Ebola outbreak first began, officials have been utilizing the Trilogy Emergency Relief Application system to send nearly 2 million texts a month in the country. The messages provide the citizens of Sierra Leone with important health information and facts about Ebola to help educate the public, such as to avoid physical contact with others if they believe they have been infected, not to resist the aid of health workers in the area and other potentially life saving tips. The system is designed to send messages at off-peak hours to prevent network overload and recipients can opt out of the messages at any time.

Messages received by cell phone users include "People with Ebola who go to the health center early have a better chance of survival" and "Healthcare workers who take of Ebola patients have to wear protective clothes, do not be afraid of them." The service also allows text recipients to reply with basic health questions and receive and automated response regarding information about medical help, cleaning tips or treatment options.

Unified communications solutions have proved to be extremely effective in disseminating critical information during times of crisis. The TERA messaging system was also used in Haiti after the country's devastating 2010 earthquake and was first brought to Sierra Leone in 2013 to educate citizens about a cholera outbreak. Similar programs are used in the U.S. to send out information about severe weather or on college campuses to alert students about dangerous situations. 

Text messages reach a wider audience than emails
The messaging system was set up by the IFRC and is capable of sending a text to any cell phone that is turned on within a certain region. In areas like Sierra Leone, Internet access is not nearly as widely available as cell phone service and mobile phones are a vital lifeline for those trying to communicate with a large audience in the midst of a crisis. More than two-thirds of those in Sierra Leone have cell phone service, while only 9 percent have access to a 3G or cellular Internet plan, NPR reported. Because the messages are sent to cell phone users located in specific regions, the IFRC and Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health can tailor the texts to certain populations and provide regional advice.

In an interview with NPR, IFRC mobile operator relations officer Robin Burton noted that the system can also be used to make aid services more effective through feedback from recipients.

"We hope this will empower people to help themselves," said Burton. "They could send a message back to us saying, 'Thanks for the rice, but we have no way to cook it,' or, 'We don't eat pork here.' We call it beneficial communications because it helps everyone do better."

Burton also noted that the information sent in texts is saved on the phone and can be used for later reference, unlike information shared through the television or radio which is often quickly forgotten.

So far, more than 4,000 people have died as a result of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, and the rapid pace at which is has been spreading in the region has spurred the Red Cross into expanding the messaging program to seven other countries in the area; Tongo, Mali, Benin, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and Gambia. Once the Ebola outbreak subsides, the TERA system will remain in use in those countries during natural disasters or times of conflict. 

Growing digital health market highlights need for secure data storage solutions

A recently released study by Juniper Research revealed that the digital health market is making dramatic gains, especially in the area of wearable tech and mobile phones. According to the report, applications targeting healthcare will be a driving factor behind the digital market for that industry reaching more than $3 billion over the next five years. The market is rising so fast, in fact, that other research has suggested it may grow to more than twice that size in an even shorter amount of time, with Visiongain predicting the market will be worth $6.7 billion by the end of this year.

Wearable technology has found its way into a variety of industries, but healthcare shows the biggest opportunity for success, according to the study. Healthcare apps are being widely adopted because of the myriad benefits they offer. Wearable health devices can collect a massive amount of user data that can then be analyzed to track trends in a variety of healthcare populations. Having the ability to connect smartphones and tablets to medical devices like heart rate monitors and blood pressure cuffs offers a variety of benefits, like improved in-home monitoring and an enhanced ability to screen for related health issues.

The report suggests that the advancement of electronic health records will create an enhanced and widened digital health environment, as the records can provide a baseline for mobile health databases.The data collected through healthcare applications can also be used to help reduce the price of medical insurance for users. Existing federal laws allow information gathered by wearables and mobile devices to influence the price of health insurance as long as they meet a predefined set of requirements that constitute an employee wellness program. However, now that the growing amount of personal medical data can be integrated into insurance information, it's only a matter of time before more modern frameworks is developed to utilize this new data.

Protect sensitive medial data in the cloud
As more hospitals and healthcare providers adopt the use of wearable medical devices, the ability to store and protect the vast amounts of information created will become a top priority. A reliable way to increase the security of sensitive patient data is to employ cloud storage services. Storing sensitive information in the cloud provides organizations automatic encryption, as well as disaster recovery solutions that ensure necessary data will be available even a primary system were to fail or be damaged. Cloud services are also a cost-effective solution, as they are easy to scale to meet needs.