Tech issues to watch in 2016: Mobile stroke units, device cybersecurity

The ECRI Institute's 2016 Hospital C-Suite Watch List, made up of "technology and critical technology use issues [that] should be on your radar," includes mobile stroke units and a changing landscape for robotic surgery.

For instance, it points out that Google's new holding company Alphabet could soon provide stiff competition to the makers of the da Vinci robotic surgery platforms, which have cornered the market for almost 20 years.

It admits the list covers a lot of territory, including cybersecurity of medical devices, high-cost cardiac drugs and new technology to preserve donor organs.

Among the listed items:

  • Mobile stroke units: Using telemedicine, remote stroke specialists can evaluate patients and begin appropriate therapy even as the patient is being transported in an ambulance. Recent research from Cleveland Clinic, a pioneer in this area, found the mobile team could complete a CT evaluation in 13 minutes and begin intravenous therapy in 32 minutes.
  • Medical device cybersecurity: Amid tales of potential pacemaker hacks, the Food and Drug Administration is hosting a public workshop Jan. 20-21 on addressing medical device security issues.
  • Wireless wearable sensors: As wearable devices and fitness apps become more popular, the healthcare industry must figure out how to incorporate the data they generate to improve cost-effectiveness and safety of patient care.
  • Changing landscape of robotic surgery: With many of the original da Vinci systems reaching the end of their life spans, new models coming out that expand clinical indications, and expected competition coming into the market in the next couple of years, it might be time "to hit the 'pause' button on these capital equipment purchasing decisions."

To learn more:
- here's the list
- learn about the workshop