Regulations are Failing to Keep Up with Healthcare Tech. That Needs to Change

Technology has advanced in the last few years so much that many companies are having a hard time keeping up.

This falling behind in up-to-date technology is an issue when it comes to healthcare technology and the regulations established to keep patients safe. In the healthcare industry, tech can help with tasks such as ACLS recertification, patient admission rates, and faster test results. The rate at which technology helps the healthcare industry is amazing; however, regulations also tend to fall behind this quickly advancing technology.

For any browser-based technology, there is the risk of encountering browser/plugin/network issues. Legacy devices and systems have historically been used to store content are not compatible with some of the new technologies currently being developed.

Some of the risks that come with regulations failing to keep up with new healthcare tech affect security and data privacy, increase the costs of healthcare, and limit the user experience. Fortunately, there are higher quality solutions thanks to new advancements in the healthcare industry that can help keep regulations up to date.

Security and Data Privacy

There are numerous privacy laws and regulations that are meant to be in place to protect patient document rights, specifically how providers share information. Such regulatory measures put a burden on the data fluidity and makes it more difficult to adopt new technologies that involve data.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) compliance is often raised as a key concern for any healthcare technology. For the communication of patient information through technologies, such as WebRTC, HIPPA requires that the communication channel be properly secured to protect patient confidentiality.

As technology has improved, it is easier and easier for hackers to gain access to private information. Healthcare applications deal with confidential and sensitive patient health data which makes security a primary concern. Due to this fact, the healthcare industry has very strict requirements around cryptographic security that dictates how and when the data needs to be encrypted, transmitted and decrypted.

If security regulations in the industry fail to keep up with new healthcare tech, the overall security of patient data will be weaker. The weaker the security, the more open all that personal healthcare information is to hackers.

Cost of Healthcare

It’s not just storage and security systems that are being adapted into the healthcare industry.

There is a need for proprietary protocols, software and hardware, all of which causes the infrastructure costs of running a healthcare facility to increase tremendously. These legacy solutions require maintenance and costly upgrades, increasing the overall cost of running a healthcare facility which then leads to a cascading effect of the need for an overall increase in the cost of healthcare.

User Experience

Understanding and simplifying the user experience is the most important task for any industry—especially the healthcare industry, because it directly impacts the lives of its patients. This simple user experience is even more important when they are considering changing or adding new technology or working methods.

Research has shown that only one in six doctors use electronic health record systems regularly, even though they are considered incentives and bonuses attached to its usage. This statistic suggests that many healthcare professionals are reluctant to make the change because they don’t want to take time to relearn the new methods and systems. Just as many doctors and nurses hesitate to make the change to a complicated program, patients are likely to be slower to adopting new healthcare services as well. In order for medical professionals and their patients to use this new technology, it needs to be user friendly and have the ability of fit into familiar workflows and schedules.

High Quality Solutions

There are many risks that come with regulations failing to keep up with healthcare tech and knowing them can help the medical professionals solve problems before they occur. Application performance and quality of service are important in the process of launching communication solutions for the healthcare industry.

Also, the more accessible the applications are, the easier it is for others to gain access and start using them. Applications need to be available on the endpoints and devices that healthcare professionals and patients use on a regular basis.

Today’s world is increasingly a mobile-centered world, meaning issues related to wifi, 3G or 4G connections add to the risks of not being prepared for the new healthcare tech. Whether is connectivity issues or a low bandwidth device, the communication service for healthcare professionals needs to be optimized to work across a range of network conditions and environments.

Rick Delgado is a business and technology writer and consultant.