ITUpdate for November 2014

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» Nurses are increasingly relying on mobile devices, social media and the Internet, according to a survey from Wolters Kluwer Health. Their results, released in September, said 65% of nurses are using mobile devices at work for professional purposes at least 30 minutes a day, with 20% using them for 120 or more minutes. Half of the respondents said their organization blocks Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube on company networks. 

» A new smartphone app, developed by Dartmouth University researchers, can track students' mental health, academic performance and behavior trends. They presented their findings at the ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing. The app can work for non-students, researchers said, such as letting the phone measure workplace stress and productivity, as well as potentially whether the user is depressed or lonely.

» Congress is unlikely to act on telehealth reimbursement this session, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) said in September. He encouraged members of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society to continue to support bills such as the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014, which Harper sponsored, and the Flex-IT Act, which was introduced in September by Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC).

» University of Washington researchers have developed a low-power wireless sensing technology that could let users train their smartphones to recognize gestures. Some smartphones are starting to incorporate 3-D gesture sensing based on cameras, but this consumes major battery power, the researchers said. Their way involves using small antennas to capture changes in reflected signals, meaning that tapping or sliding gestures could correspond to commands on a phone, such as silencing a ring.

» Investors are increasingly turning to healthcare technology companies, Reuters reported in September. Venture capital funding for healthcare technology is up 176%, to $2.3 billion, so far in 2014 compared to the same period last year. The money has primarily gone to companies specializing in payment management and data analytics, compared to previous interest in biotech companies.