By Devin Partida, technology writer and the editor-in-chief, ReHack.com.
Many aspects of modern health care are increasingly dependent on IT professionals. Here are five challenges those experts are likely to encounter this year and some potential solutions.
1. Addressing the IT Needs of Rural Facilities
Many modern hospital processes require the internet. However, many hospitals are not in areas known for reliable internet access. These are typically rural facilities that often lack large IT teams.
However, these medical centers play substantial roles in the surrounding areas. Estimates suggest that rural communities account for 20% of the United States’ population. Hospitals are often among the primary places of employment for residents there.
Some IT obstacles at rural facilities relate to communication silos. However, a clinical mobility assessment could break down some of the barriers between IT professionals and clinicians. Moreover, investing in managed services can relieve the burdens at hospitals without large IT teams.
2. Coping With Too Many COVID-19 Vaccine Passport Standards
With COVID-19 vaccination programs rolling out in many countries, merely getting the appropriate number of shots is insufficient. People must also prove they did so. For now, they usually have paper vaccine cards with handwritten details.
However, several companies are working on digital vaccine passports. Those could prove vital for helping vaccinated individuals attend a concert or sporting event, travel abroad, or even dine in a restaurant.
People with knowledge of the matter say a primary issue is that there are currently four standards used for these projects and no sign of world leaders agreeing to stick with just one.
A related matter is that the United States alone has dozens of public vaccination databases. Implementing a system where a passport app could retrieve information from all of them requires one standard.
It’s also not clear whether people will need different vaccination apps depending on their desired activities. Since so many details remain unknown, the best thing for health IT professionals to do now is stay abreast of progress and consider how developments could affect their work.