Top 10 Healthcare IT News articles of 2018

Tech titans set their sights on interoperability, Judy Faulkner shared advice for women in health IT and big data breaches continued – revisit those stories and others in our look back at the past 12 months.
By Tom Sullivan
09:07 AM

2018 was quite a year in healthcare and technology. Tech titans Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and Salesforce all banded together to take on the interoperability challenge, Apple made serious inroads with hospitals, while stalwart EHR vendors offered a glimpse of what customers can expect in forthcoming incarnations of their software.

We saw loads of innovation and emerging technology. Artificial intelligence and machine learning gained a greater presence, and we conducted research to find out how hospitals are proceeding with AI now. And we saw blockchain use cases starting to take shape.

Then there were the downsides – notably that data breaches kept occurring with regularity and, despite some milestone interoperability advancements, it became even clearer just how thorny of a problem data sharing really is.

If the state of health IT in 2018 could be summarized in one phrase, it might be this: "Accelerating beyond the EMR," as Blain Newton, executive vice president of HIMSS Analytics, a Healthcare IT News sister company, explained.

Now, as the New Year approaches, here’s a look back at 2018’s most important stories as chosen based on both reader interest and our editors' picks.

1. The 12 healthcare issues that will define 2018

Yes, this one was technically posted in mid-December, but we counted it because it was about 2018. From AI to patient experience, with a helping of social determinants, government policy, IoT and more, PwC’s list is a perennial reader favorite. 

2. The biggest health data breaches of 2018

That’s right, this article collection contains nearly 50 infosec incidents: hackers, of course, as well as ransomware, illegal snooping around medical data, phishing, data leaks, misconfigured databases and more. All of the above kept happening over and over again in 2018 and probably will in 2019 too. Should it happen to you, here’s the right way to handle a data breach.

3. Apple lined up 39 hospitals to use its Health Records

That was back in March, folks, and the number is by now hiking up toward 150, according to Apple’s list of hospitals that support health records on the iPhone. 

4. White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner made a surprise speech at HIMSS18

Kushner took the stage just before CMS Administrator Seema Verma to reveal the federal government’s new plan to address interoperability with artificial intelligence and machine learning. “The president is determined to make interoperability a reality for all Americans,” Kushner said, adding that the initiative will involve overhauling meaningful use and expanding Blue Button and the MyHealthEData program. 

5. Epic Systems founder and CEO Judy Faulkner shared some advice for Women in Health IT

“Be a builder,” Faulkner began, urging others to ignore the glass ceiling as she did and, instead, use the fact that they are women to their advantage. “Are you a missionary?” she asked. “Or are you a mercenary?” 

6. Another surprise: the biggest tech companies actually came together to tackle interoperability

At a White House hackathon for Blue Button 2.0, top executives of each company’s healthcare divisions pledged to use FHIR, open APIs and cloud technologies to improve information sharing.

The lack of further detail about how they will accomplish the goal left some Healthcare IT News readers skeptical about the prospects, so it will be interesting to see what 2019 brings on that front. 

7. Amazon got into the precision medicine game with Accenture and Merck

The trio aligned to develop a cloud-based analytics platform to enable collaboration across life sciences that will lead to faster drug development work and more apps and tools to help patients. 

8. EHR vendors gave us a glimpse at what comes next

Here’s a taste: automation, analytics, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, genomics and more. eClinicalWorks even said it’s next version will be akin to a Bloomberg terminal, only for doctors and clinicians.

The coverage was part of of our next-gen series looking at what to expect from more than 20 technologies shaping the future of health IT

9. 3 charts show why interoperability is still such a mess 

The average health system has 16 different EMRs across its facilities, 75 percent have 10 or more and only 2 percent have gotten down to two platforms. 



10. Mayo Clinic CIO Christopher Ross on breaking the $1 billion barrier with EHR and IT modernization work

Ross explained how Mayo managed a project so big in scope, discussed the challenges and obstacle to avoid, and outlined reasons why his health system focused on experience and optimization from the get-go. “The project is highly complex due to the number of specialties and subspecialties involved,” Ross said. “We are not only focused on building and delivering a converged technical solution, we are also invested in the people side of change to support them in adopting, utilizing, and becoming proficient in the Epic system. This is being accomplished through a comprehensive change management strategy.”

Bring on 2019! 

Twitter: @SullyHIT
Email the writer: tom.sullivan@himssmedia.com

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.