Telehealth: Welcome to the Future

It sounds space age-y and strange, but the future of healthcare is near, and in some cases, here: telehealth.

What exactly is telehealth? Often used with another word, “telemedicine”, it differs a little wherever you go. California’s laws defines it (paraphrased here) as a mode of delivering healthcare services via technology to facilitate many factions including diagnosis, treatment, education, consultation, and management of a patient’s health. However, the Health Resources and Services Administration has defined telehealth as, “The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.”

Here’s some of the most popular modes of telehealth:

  • Live video: Two-way interaction, typically between a patient and their caregiver, using audio-visual technology. This can be used for consultative and diagnostic services.
  • Store-and-Forward: Transmissions of health history, like x-rays, though a secure server system to a physician. Typically used when sending information to a specialist.
  • Remote Patient Monitoring: This is the electronic collection of health data from an individual in one area, which is then sent to the physician in another location.
  • Mobile Health: Information about personal and public healthcare that is supported on mobile devices such as computers, tablets, and cell phones. Some examples are alerts about diseases or healthy tips sent by text.

There’s no doubt that as technology evolves, it will become a greater factor in our healthcare sphere. The great thing about telehealth is that it can apply to all fields of healthcare, not just the typical hospital or doctor’s office setting. Dentists, counselors, physical therapists, home health providers and even disaster management groups can utilize telehealth.

Get more information here.

Telehealth: Welcome to the Future

Ransomware: What Experts Say and Why Health IT is More Important than Ever

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On February 12, the first major news story covering a hospital cyber attack was covered in California. Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital was hit with $3.6 million in damages and their EHR system was shut down for a week. Several days later, the hospital’s CEO stated that they had paid the hackers $17,000, roughly 40 Bitcoins, for the key to their system.

Not even a month later, MedStar, a 10-hospital system in Columbia, MD, was forced to shut down their system because of a hacker-induced virus. MedStar continued to try to give the best patient care possible, even with no digital systems working properly.

Now, reports say that hospitals are hit with ransomware every week throughout the United States.How should hospitals combat this costly problem while saving privacy, money and time? One thing is for sure: health IT professionals are more needed than ever.

One major problem is lack of awareness and training. Some experts state that healthcare informatics is behind other industries when it comes to security and protection against cyber-attacks. CEOs, boards of trustees, and all other major heads need to be on the same page regarding security tactics and prevention. All end-users of EHR and other systems should be continuously trained and updated on new procedures and system changes.

The message here is clear: education for end-users of all digital operational systems is imperative for avoiding and preventing cyber-attacks. Maintaining a budget and keeping and updated security plan is also of utmost importance. Health IT professionals are needed  to ensure systems are updated, operational and fully functioning. Without the proper professionals in place, more cyber-attack crisis can and will keep taking place, costing money, time and patient peace of mind.

 

This blog was inspired by and based on this article .

 

Ransomware: What Experts Say and Why Health IT is More Important than Ever

Women in Health IT: Gaps in Gender and Pay

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Women are starting to take over many industries traditionally saturated with men, with health IT being no exception. However (and sadly, unsurprisingly) this doesn’t automatically equal pay and gender ratios.

Interestingly, men and women have the same median income in the HIT field of $80,000-$89,000, though five men for every one woman made $160,000 or more. The good news: men and women are equally as likely to receive a bonus consisting of 6%-10% of their salary. The bad news: most women reported bonuses between 16%-20% while men reported bonuses between 21%-40%.

According to a report done by Glassdoor, healthcare shows the highest gender pay gap at 7.2% while information technology was at a slightly lower 5.9%.

These facts can seem disparaging, but more opportunities in the job force are appearing every day for women. Truly, there is no better time to be a woman in technology, as many college and university programs are aiming at recruiting more women to balance out men-heavy gender ratios.

Facts, percentages and stats from this article

Women in Health IT: Gaps in Gender and Pay

Combatting the Nursing Shortage with Incentives

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Stethoscope and EKG

Everyone knows the baby boomer population is aging, resulting in a greater need for nurses. The nation is now faced with not only older patients, but also older nurses. How are hospitals dealing with this problem? Benefits and incentives!

In light of this shortage, many hospitals are offering relocation packages and sign-on bonuses, as well as residency programs and more flexible staffing options. While some of these opportunities may not be available to brand-new nurses, mid-level career nurses can definitely benefit.

Some nurses reported receiving more than $20,000 as a sign-on bonus, though a few individuals in nursing chat rooms warn that sign-ons are usually tied to a less-than-desirable workplaces or locations. Others reported receiving $5,000-$10,000 in relocation packages, which obviously adds to the allure of a new job location, though experience is tied to the final number.

As far as residency programs go, these seem to be one of the most viable options for newer nurses. The goal of these programs is to create a nurse who is completely confident and able by the time he or she has completed the residency. Nurses in residency are usually partnered with extremely experienced nursing mentors who help them grow into being the best caregiver they can be. This website lists hospitals by state who offer residency nursing programs.

The nursing shortage won’t be over anytime soon, and now is a great time to take advantage of opportunities if you qualify. There’s always more to be learned and gained. Be the best nurse you can be!

 

Combatting the Nursing Shortage with Incentives