After much speculation and anticipation, Apple finally unveiled the “Apple Watch” this week. In terms of health and wellness features, the device will have an accelerometer to track movement and built in sensors to measure heart rate. Many details are still to come, but some analysts have already voiced concerns about potential battery life and the device’s ability to effectively protect consumer data. The Apple Watch is expected to be available in early 2015 with a starting price of $349.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: It is still very early, but we remain a little surprised Apple didn’t announce more innovative (or practical) features that leverage the data the watch will collect (for example, the ability to record and send your heartbeat to someone in your contacts doesn’t exactly feel like a game changer). That being said, it is probably a safe prediction that Apple Watch sales will be solid and that these devices will be capturing quite a bit of health and fitness data in the near future.
A new report from Forrester finds significant security risks with the mobile devices used in hospitals and health systems. Specifically, FierceMobileHealthcare reports that only 59% of health IT employees surveyed indicated “full-disk encryption or file-level encryption” were being used on the mobile devices in their organizations. According to the Wall Street Journal blog, Forrester also found that since 2005, incidents involving a lost or stolen device have accounted for almost 80% of all breached records reported in healthcare (!).
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: Want to know more about how hospitals and health systems can overcome a false sense of information security? Check out the brand new primer on the IA website.
On the heels of CMS’ rather disappointing final rule on MU “flexibility” in 2014, ONC published a final rule of its own on the optional “2014 Edition Release 2” certification criteria. The final rule from ONC does away with the voluntary “2015 Edition” certification criteria that was originally proposed, instead adopting a smaller number of optional criteria and changes that the agency is calling “2014 Edition Release 2.” The new certification criteria remain purely voluntary though, so EHR vendors are not required to update or recertify their products. For an analysis of what was specifically adopted, we recommend this entry from the always excellent Healthcare Standards blog.
Impact Advisors’ Thoughts: Given all the problems vendors had with the first release of 2014 Edition software, it seems unlikely that many will elect to voluntarily participate in that process again unless they absolutely must. The optional criteria may very well help those vendors who have yet to achieve 2014 Edition certification, but from most providers’ perspective, the announcement of a “2014 Edition Release 2” is probably more of a distraction than anything else at this point. To reiterate, these certification criteria are not required, and providers do not need to make any upgrades as a result of this particular final rule from ONC.