5 health IT terms every hospital CEO must know

As the healthcare industry becomes increasingly technology-focused, leaders without a background in tech may find it overwhelming. That's why it's essential they understand several key terms and concepts, according to Managed Healthcare Executive.

In years past, healthcare executives could safely leave technology issues in the hands of the information technology (IT) department. But such concerns are now integrated system-wide, and leaders must understand them in order to fully appreciate their impact on operations, according to Beth Diamond, global claims team leader, technology, media & business, at Beazley, a multinational insurance specialist. "[E]xecutives need to be conversant and have a working knowledge of the technology," she told Managed Healthcare Executive. "They cannot simply rely on the information technology or information security groups."

The article lists eight terms executives must understand. Here are five of them: 

Big data, which refers to large datasets that a company analyzes for patterns or trends. Bill Stinneford, senior vice president at Buxton, a consumer data firm, said healthcare leaders should focus on the relevance of the data rather than volume.

Population health, or managing and analyzing the health of a broad sociodemographic cross-section of patients. The exact definition of population health has long been an issue among healthcare leaders, and the complexity of both the process and the definition only add to the confusion, according to the article.

Interoperability, or various information systems' ability to communicate and trade data. This is particularly important as interoperability is vital to patient population analysis, according to Virtual Health CEO Adam Sabloff.

Mobile health, or mHealth, the use of devices such as laptops, phones and tablets to access and exchange clinical data. While mHealth is a somewhat new concept, the industry and consumers increasingly view it as a way to streamline care, according to the article.

Patient engagement, or ensuring that patients are involved and included in their own care processes. Patient engagement is a major issue at all levels of healthcare, but increased proliferation of technology such as passive telehealth monitoring makes it crucial that executives understand it from an IT perspective.

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