Electronic Health Records Progressing, Still Not Ubiquitous

    The road to electronic health records (EHR) has been a long one. It is, however, getting closer to completion for many organizations; others still have a ways to go, according to a survey released this week at the 2016 annual meeting of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

    The survey found that 96 percent of responding hospitals said that they use certified EHR records, which is 24 percent more than five years ago. The small, rural and critical access hospitals subset is still not at the same level. Progress is being made, though: The survey said that since 2014, small rural hospitals have increased basic EHR use by 14 percent and critical access hospitals by 18 percent.

    Specialty institutions, according to eWeek, also still face challenges:

    Psychiatric and children’s hospitals also have significantly lower EHR adoption rates than general medicine hospitals. EHR adoption rates in general medicine jumped to 84 percent in 2015, while adoption was 15 percent at psychiatric hospitals and 55 percent at children’s hospitals—in sharp contrast to rates of 7, 10 and 12 percent in 2008.

    Mobile Data Traffic Spiking Forever

    Ericsson’s latest mobile report found that mobile data traffic increased 60 percent between the first quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of this year. The total amount of data for the first quarter of this year, CNET reports, was 5.7 exabytes. The top uses are video, social networking and audio streaming.

    The size of the total is difficult to conceptualize. One small way is to consider that as recently as five years ago, in the first quarter of 2011, only about one-third of an exabyte was trafficked. North Americans are using about 4 gigabyte (GB) per phone per month. That number is expected to grow to 22 GB per month by 2021.

    Malware Targeting SCADA Systems

    A malware program ained at supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems has been detected.

    The goal of the malware is to obscure true readings, according to Network World. This is similar to the Stuxnet malware that was common a few years ago. News of malware moves slowly. The program, named IRONGATE, was discovered during the second half of 2015 by FireEye.

    SCADA attacks are, of course, frightening because they are often tied to critical infrastructure. IRONGATE could be a proof of concept initiative, and more may be heard from it in the future.

    AT&T President Prabhu Bullish on SDN, NFV

    The outlook for savings from software-defined networks and network functions virtualization (SDN and NFV) is great, according to Krish Prabhu, president of AT&T Labs.

    Prabhu, speaking at Cowen and Company’s Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, said that operational expenditure (opex) savings of 40 percent to 50 percent eventually could be realized, according to Telecompetitor.

    AT&T has set a goal of virtualizing three-quarters of its infrastructure by 2020. When that is accomplished, opex gains will hit high gear. Capital expenditure (capex) gains will be less obvious, but significant in real terms:

    Prabhu doesn’t expect to see any capex savings from SDN and NFV, but that statement only tells part of the story. AT&T is expecting to handle four to eight times more traffic on its network within a few years than it handles today – and the company expects to accommodate that growth without increasing capex as a result of implementing SDN and NFV, Prabhu said.

    LTE on Unlicensed Spectrum Test Plan Coming in August

    The cooperation between The Wi-Fi Alliance and the telco interests aimed at enabling LTE to use unlicensed frequencies in a way that is acceptable to all parties seems to be looking up.

    The Wi-Fi Alliance said that the organization is validating the joint testing plan, according to WirelessWeek. Wi-Fi Alliance Vice President of Marketing Kevin Robinson expects the plan to be released in August and third-party testing to begin immediately at certified test labs.

    Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.

    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk
    Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk Carl Weinschenk is a long-time IT and telecom journalist. His coverage areas include the IoT, artificial intelligence, artificial intelligence, drones, 3D printing LTE and 5G, SDN, NFV, net neutrality, municipal broadband, unified communications and business continuity/disaster recovery. Weinschenk has written about wireless and phone companies, cable operators and their vendor ecosystems. He also has written about alternative energy and runs a website, The Daily Music Break, as a hobby.

    Get the Free Newsletter!

    Subscribe to Daily Tech Insider for top news, trends, and analysis.

    Latest Articles