3 healthcare technologies that will revolutionize the patient experience

Technology has a long history of improving the way healthcare organizations treat their patients. And that will continue to be true in new and innovative ways as technologies outside the medical industry are adapted to improve the patient experience.

Here are 3 examples of healthcare technology that will continue to revolutionize the patient experience in the future.

Mobile apps for preventative care

There’s an app for that. We’re all familiar with this saying, and it’s true even in healthcare.

One of the biggest developments on the rise is fitness apps and the wearable technology they interact with. More and more apps are interacting with and measuring the health of the patients who use them. This process keeps people living healthier and spending less time in the waiting room at the doctor’s office.

Apps also help patients communicate better with their primary healthcare physician without breaking HIPAA compliance. They can even allow patients to keep better track of their own symptoms and manage things like blood sugar or sleep schedules.

The interaction between these apps and the sensors they use to monitor health brings up our next technology: the Internet of Things (IoT).

Related: 3 steps to HIPAA security rule compliance for your business 

The Internet of Things for better data

The IoT is all about sensors and connectivity. And when it comes to healthcare technology, the applications for medical devices are seemingly endless, from streamlining testing procedures to improving the way critical patients are monitored.

As the future plays out, IoT technology will also enable better first responder coordination and faster health data communication when critical patients are en route to the hospital.

And imagine how much more in-depth that information will become with the rise of IoT smart pills that will monitor patient health from the inside. Before long, sensors could be detecting cancer and treating internal injuries.

Monitoring at every level of healthcare will change for the better as the IoT continues to make inroads into healthcare.

Related: Starter devices for the Internet of Things 

Artificial Intelligence for patient scheduling and monitoring

And since we’re already talking about the IoT and patient data collection, we need to discuss the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare technology. Though still in its infancy, AI will soon have the power to digest information and suggest appropriate actions based on the data IoT sensors collect.

This will cut down on staffing difficulties and allow nurses to better monitor their patients.

AI already has a big impact on the patient experience now. Chatbots help clinicians schedule appointments with patients. Programs monitor patient symptoms so human nurses can be more prepared for checkups and other visits. Algorithms help patients search their own symptoms online.

As AI and machine learning continue to develop, all of these features will become even more effective and helpful.

Healthcare technology will bring much more in the future

Though healthcare technology is already revolutionizing the patient experience, it will do so much more in the years to come.

For example, technologies like blockchain are just beginning to make their way into healthcare. These technologies promise to reconfigure the entire experience for both staff and patients.

And you might have noted how each of the three technologies we mentioned above feed into each other. Where this kind of collaboration and incorporation will lead is really anyone’s guess. But you can bet it will change the way doctors and patients interact in amazing ways!

Related: Medical ransomware attacks on the rise


5 ways companies violate HIPAA compliance (and how to avoid them)

HIPAA compliance can be an Achilles’ heel for the companies who fall under its regulatory umbrella. And rightfully so. After all, the protected health information (PHI) it mandates is among the most sensitive data that businesses in any industry handle.

Failure to comply can lead to large fines and legal penalties. Or even drive companies out of business altogether over time. That’s why it pays to be prepared for the threats. But preparation is a tall order when the threats come from every direction, including external intruders and the very people you trust to access it.

Here are 5 ways that companies violate HIPAA compliance, and how to avoid them.

Malware and hacking

As with any industry, malware and hackers are a real concern for HIPAA-compliant companies. But the risks are even higher when data loss results in fines and legal action, in addition to lost productivity or downtime.

The good news is, there are a number of strategies you can take to keep your network safe and meet compliance mandates. Four of the most direct methods include:

  1. Requiring updated passwords on a minimum quarterly basis.
  2. Making sure your company has adequate firewalls in place to protect your network.
  3. Requiring a base level of password complexity.
  4. Making sure software is updated at all times to shore up security vulnerabilities.

Malicious (or absent-minded) insiders

We’d all like to believe we can trust the people we work with. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Often it’s the very people we allow inside our networks who do the most damage. Sometimes for profit.

However, there are a few solid strategies you can take to minimize exposure:

  1. Practice the principle of least privilege for employee access to PHI.
  2. Use keycard access points to control access to hardware portals. Never provide access to employees who do not require it.
  3. Track and monitor who accesses PHI, and when.

Lost or stolen devices

With the rise of cloud computing, businesses frequently use portable devices such as tablets or laptops. This doesn’t have to lead to a compliance issue should one of these devices be lost or stolen. But it can. Here are two strategies to avoid violating compliance should one of your devices be lost.

  1. Install and maintain remote wipe programs on any devices that can access PHI. This is particularly important if your employees will ever access PHI from public networks (consider a policy against such use). Require automatic logout / session timeouts for sensitive programs.
  2. Require all devices that access your network to be password-protected.

Improper device or records disposal

Does your office use devices such as copy machines? Often these devices save document copies on their hard drives. That means they may retain copies of peoples’ PHI. What do you do with outdated records, and how do you handle document transfer risks? Here are a few tips:

  1. Have a plan to clear temporary files from all devices that handle copies of any files or messages containing PHI.
  2. Always shred discarded hard copies or securely store outdated / old records that are no longer actively used.

Third-party disclosure

The nature of PHI is that this sensitive information often needs to move from office to office or organization to organization during the course of patient care. These transfer points are high-risk areas where you can violate compliance and compromise patients’ data. Try these strategies to make records transfer more secure:

  1. Have a plan in place for transferring records in a secure, encrypted or otherwise protected manner.
  2. Require a business associate agreement with any agency that will exchange information with your organization. This agreement should clearly outline responsibilities, protocols and best practices.


It’s clear that HIPAA compliance is a complex issue. You probably need professional planning and security to prevent data loss and the resulting fallout. It’s highly advisable that you consider reaching out to a Managed Services Provider (MSP) with HIPAA experience who can guide you through the process.

They can also provide strategies and solutions to achieve maximum protection for your unique organizational needs and risks. Given the steep fines and extreme cost of downtime or data loss, this will likely save you money in the long run.


5 Signs You Need Telemedicine in Your Office

Telemedicine (also interchangeably called “telehealth”) is revolutionizing the healthcare industry and it shows no signs of slowing down. In one recent study, 77% of people said they would consider seeing a provider virtually. Such a high demand does not go unnoticed. 44% of medical practices made introducing and improving telemedicine their top priority in 2017.

We’ve identified 5 signs that you need telemedicine in your office. If any of these signs sound familiar, it’s time to seriously consider integrating telemedicine soon.

1. Your Practice Needs Some Growing Room.

Let’s look at the benefits of telemedicine from a business perspective. Without telemedicine, your practice is greatly limited by geography. You might be the most knowledgeable and capable expert in a certain specialty or condition, but you may very well miss the opportunity to work with a patient just because you operate in a different zip code.

Telemedicine eliminates geographical boundaries and enables your practice to expand organically to serve the patients that most need your assistance.

2. Your Customers Need to Reach You.

Sometimes, patients become critically ill, or even die, because they can’t readily access their healthcare provider’s office. Whether at-risk patients happen to be elderly, disabled, isolated or impoverished, they can benefit from telemedicine visits as an alternative to ignoring or suffering potentially serious medical issues.

Telemedicine makes medical assistance just one internet connection away. Patients who can’t travel or have accessibility issues would now be able to connect to your office and receive assistance with minimal effort.

3. You Have Patients Who Could Benefit From Ongoing Support.

Telemedicine really does have a life-or-death impact on patients, especially with the availability of remote monitoring. With the right tools, doctors can constantly follow up on patient analytics.

A recent report found that using remote monitoring technology to keep tabs on a patient’s blood sugar or cardiopulmonary disease can reduce the risk of patient mortality by up to 45%.

4. You Want to Streamline Operations and Satisfy Customers.

It turns out that making life more convenient for your practice, and saving more lives, makes both your employees and your customers extremely happy to work with you. The satisfaction rates for telemedicine are remarkable.

86% of doctors and 83% of patients have reported that they were satisfied with the level of care given/received. That’s good for keeping your patients and your practice healthy.

5. You Want More Cost-effective Tools.

Incorporating virtual capabilities into your business almost always comes with cost savings. For instance, if you perform 30% of your business via telemedicine, you can increase your volume without extra expense for office space and equipment to accommodate those patients.

You and your customers will also save time and money with reduced travel and schedule disruption. Some routine appointments, such as prescription refills for example, can be handled over a patient’s (or provider’s) lunch break.

Telemedicine is typically covered by insurance plans at the same rate as an in-office visit, so you can apply that savings over a quarter/year to see the quantitative benefits.

Do You Need Telemedicine in Your Office?

At this point you probably know that you’ll need to incorporate telemedicine in one way or another. Not only do you want to remain competitive, but, more importantly, you also want to embrace any opportunity to improve your business and the lives of your patients.

RWA has experience providing network solutions specifically suited for telemedicine and HIPAA compliance. If you are interested in learning more about telemedicine for your practice, please give us a call or send us a message and we’ll be happy to chat with you.