Tablet wars, IT security dominate at HIMSS13

While interoperability was one of the more dominant themes at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's annual conference in New Orleans last week, it was far from the only topic of discussion.

For instance, mobile healthcare--in particular, the ongoing tablet wars--was hot, according to MobiHealthNews. Companies like Microsoft, Panasonic and Dell all had their latest offerings on display, and representatives from all seemed to take aim at Apple, which was not at the conference.

"Apple has made it very clear that they are not customizing their platform for business," Dell Chief Medical Officer Andrew Litt told MobiHealthNews. "If people want to use them in business environments that's fine. Our focus is on the enterprise--how do you make an It implementation of 250 or 500 devices cost effective over time? It's not about who's cheaper to buy at the moment. Frankly, they're all about the same. It's about what's cheaper over three years."

Kyle Sale, director of product marketing at Motion Computing, meanwhile, talked about how the iPad isn't necessarily adequate as a medical device due to clinical workflow issues, something he said has led to some hospital customers reversing course after purchasing the Apple product.

Data security also was a big theme at the conference. For example, officials from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights spoke in detail about the updates to both the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules and the HITECH Breach Notification Rule, according to Health IT Security. The presentation, according to the article, sought to "hammer home" the point of getting healthcare organizations to boost data prevention efforts.

What's more, Alain Bouit, information security officer at Adventist Health, a 19-hospital system based in Roseville, Calif., spoke about how hospitals can and should measure the effectiveness of their security programs, according to Health Data Management. Bouit said that there are three levels of measurement--enterprise, entry and control. Enterprise, he said, can be measured in the number of high-risk items found during an annual audit. The measure for entity, according to Bouit, involves making updates to recovery plans and determining results from recover exercises.

Measuring control, Bouit said, entails creating a monthly report updating how many devices like laptops at an organization are not encrypted.

Narratives on both themes, no doubt will continue to play out in the coming months, especially as the compliance date for HIPAA, set for Sept. 21, 2013, draws closer.

To learn more:
- here's the MobiHealthNews article
- read the Health IT Security piece
- check out Health Data Management's coverage

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