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A new year, a new president – 2017 will usher in a lot of changes, including in health care. The title of consulting firm PWC’s annual trend report may best capture the tone: “Top health industry issues of 2017: A year of uncertainty and opportunity.”

While President-elect Trump has made repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act a top priority, its fate remains unclear, reports PWC. “Yet, despite the potential policy changes in Washington, the painstaking and challenging work of shifting to value-based care will continue.”

This will also be the year that solutions emerge for turning big data into actionable information, mobile health will continue its growth, and cybersecurity will become ever more important. Here’s a look at what doctors can expect in the coming year.Read More

The alarm on your smartphone buzzes next to your bed. You get up, check your FitBit to see how many hours of sleep you logged, then pull up your calendar on your Apple watch. “Alexa, what’s today’s weather report?” you ask your Bluetooth speaker. As you’re using your daily meditation app, you get a FaceTime call from your daughter in college. All this technology is great, right? So easy, so useful, so … harmful?

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In the first half of 2016 alone, there were 263 health data breaches, reports Healthcare IT News. The number of individuals affected by a protected health information breach skyrocketed from less than 600,000 in 2010 to just under 112 million in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Protected health information (PHI) is a prime target for hackers and cyber criminals because in many cases it is easier to steal than credit card data or financial records. It’s also far more valuable, since health records contain all of a patient’s personal, medical, and financial data. Are you doing enough to protect yourself, your practice, and your patients?Read More

Every medical practice should have a website. Recent surveys show that virtually everyone, even older patients, use the Internet to access health care information and discover providers, reports Physicians Practice. “Websites are your new front door. This is the first impression people will get of you,” said Derek Kosiorek, principal with the Medical Group Management Association’s (MGMA’s) consulting arm.

But just having a website isn’t enough anymore. Your practice’s online presence may be the key to attracting more patients and generating more revenue—if you’re being smart about it and not making costly mistakes. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you make the most of your practice’s website.Read More

The hottest fitness app of 2016 wasn’t intended to be a fitness app at all. A week after Pokémon Go launched in July, it had an estimated 7.5 million downloads, reported MobiHealthNews. And on average, users were spending twice the amount of time engaged with the enormously popular app than they were on apps like Snapchat and Twitter. Using augmented reality, phone cameras, and GPS, Pokémon Go requires players to move around in order to capture monsters in real life.

In August, a 29-year-old man told the Baltimore Sun he’d lost 10 pounds in his first month of playing Pokémon Go, and had increased his social interactions as well. “I’m getting more active than ever before instead of sitting on my butt and playing Black Ops 3,” he said, referring to a military-themed video game. “I think it’s made my overall mood a lot better, too. It’s made me feel a lot more positive.” Could mobile gaming be the future of patient engagement in health care?Read More

While more health care providers are utilizing technology for professional purposes, there is still a stigma surrounding social media for many doctors. “‘Waste of time’ is the most common and scathing criticism leveled at social media by my physician friends and colleagues who have not yet seen the light,” writes surgeon Kathryn A. Hughes, a self-described social media convert.

In fact, those who have embraced it have found that not only can social media save time, it also may help improve patients’ perception of doctors and combat burnout. Here’s how.

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