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Verizon exec: healthcare leads in tech but lags in IT


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Richard Handford

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LIVE FROM mHEALTH SUMMIT, WASHINGTON DC: Keynote speaker Peter Tippett, Verizon’s chief medical officer and vice president, said that healthcare lags other sectors in its use of IT because of the need for regulatory compliance.

“Medicine is more bleeding edge in technology than anyone else but dead last in its use of IT,” he said.  The industry has many firsts in terms of patient treatment but lags in its use of IT. The reason is the need for compliance with rules such as HIPAA which protect patient privacy but make delivering some services to patients more complex.

That need offers an opportunity to Verizon, which is its pitch to healthcare providers. The operator can manage compliance and patient identity. According to Tippett, the operator is about more than networking and connectivity. It can also remove “friction” (such as HIPAA compliance) for healthcare providers.

Among the Verizon initiatives currently under development Tippett mentioned a means for doctors to more easily update patient records, or sign off certain treatments, from a smartphone. He also touched on the operator’s work on a converged health management platform that is HIPAA compliant.

And he mentioned how Verizon is working with the Continua Health Alliance so that medical devices can still connect into the operator’s systems, such as those for complaince and identity, even when data is sent across a non-Verizon wireless network. such as a Bluetooth network or one run by a rival mobile operator.

The operator’s strategy for mobile health is about its role as an enabler (Tippett’s own background is in data security) rather than providing retail services direct to the patient.

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