5 Stories That Ignited Health Tech This Week

From big data’s role in solving coming healthcare problems to Comcast’s new partnership, these stories resonated with our readers.

Big data, artificial intelligence (AI), value-based care, and technological disruption were the themes of the week among Healthcare Analytics News™ readers. But before you ask, yes, these are almost always hot topics for the health information technology (IT) crowd.

So, which precise stories inspired our audience to share, click, and comment? That question is at the heart of a new recurring series that will go live each Friday—and you’re reading the first installation right now. The gist: We’re going to pick our best-performing stories of the week and compile them here, in a single convenient location, with descriptions and links. Although our internal metrics will determine which stories lead this article, we’ll also throw in some staff picks. Consider this a jumping-off point to some of our best content.

Without spilling any more ink, here’s your guide to the quickly fading week in health IT.

Our Top 5 Health-Tech Stories of the Week

1. Big Data, Analytics Ready to Meet Healthcare Challenges

If you haven’t heard of the so-called silver tsunami, it’s time to take notice. The term describes the coming retirement of the baby boomers, a shift that is slated to overwhelm the American healthcare system. This just happens to coincide with a projected shortage in physicians. So, to be blunt, healthcare is staring down some big challenges. That’s where big data and analytics come in. New tech enables health systems to better identify high-risk patients, identify population trends, and more. Can these advances curb the headaches of tomorrow? We’ll see.

2. What Does Comcast’s New Deal Mean for Healthcare?

Not long ago, Comcast was known as a cable company. Then it morphed into a media mega-company. Now, it’s trying to add healthcare to its repertoire. Here’s how: Comcast inked a deal with Independence Health Group, which owns Independence Blue Cross, a Philadelphia-based insurer. They hope to foster healthcare innovation through tech and content, personalizing answers to pressing healthcare questions. The move is yet another potential act of disruption in the evolving healthcare landscape.

3. Before Striking Outcome-Based Pharma Contracts, Payers Need Data

Being the official publication of Healthcare Research & Analytics®, this magazine receives some excellent benefits. Perhaps the best is the steady flow of original research that comes our way. Take this study, for example, which examines what payers are looking for in the age of value-based care. The short answer is data—and plenty of it. But their willingness to strike outcomes-based contracts also hinges on getting the right analytical tools.

4. Smart Inhalers Lead to Decreased Usage, Fewer Symptoms

After 1 year, patients with asthma who enrolled in this Kentucky-based study saw a 78% reduction in rescue inhaler use. What’s more, they experienced an average increase of 48% more symptom-free days. Still, this piece goes the extra mile, analyzing environmental considerations and what the findings mean for policy.

5. Computer Models Are Changing How We Craft HIV-AIDS Policies

Drug-resistant HIV is battering sub-Saharan Africa. Forward-thinking researchers, however, saw a possible path forward and put it to the test. They found that a computer simulation could help yield a cost-effective measure to combat this issue. And the World Health Organization agreed.

Staff Picks in Health Tech

Podcast: Finding Orangeworm

By now, you might have read a thing or 2 about this mysterious hacker group, but you probably haven’t gotten the full story. In the sixth episode of our podcast, Data Book, we speak with one of the Symantec analysts who unearthed Orangeworm and spent years researching its methods and aims. Then we bring on an executive from CynergisTek to discuss why device manufacturers are exposing health systems to risk. If you haven’t listened to Data Book yet, this episode is as good an introduction as any.

Suki Emerges with $20M to Build an “Alexa for Doctors”

It’s hard to ignore a Google executive who’s announcing big plans to change healthcare. That story is all but impossible to overlook when you throw in some fresh venture capital. So, the Suki saga is certainly gripping, and it’s made even more so by its technologies, which are built to bring the pop-sci savvy of AI voice assistants into the clinic, a possibility that has gotten many a healthcare stakeholder excited. But what would an “Alexa for doctors” really do?

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