Popularity isn't everything. If all I wanted to do was drive traffic and make money, I'd assign a steady diet of "10 iPhone Apps For Hot, Healthy Sex" stories for InformationWeek Healthcare. Actually, if I thought I could make that one work...
Still, while there are some boring but important stories we publish knowing they will only be read by our most serious readers, looking at what readers actually read gives us clues to what they care about and what we ought to be doing more of.
Digging through our website traffic reports, I was somewhat chagrined to realize our top traffic driver for 2013 was actually published in March 2012 -- a roundup of 10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems, still attracting lots of attention. They tell you in journalism school to "follow the money," and apparently that's good advice. Readers were looking for solid information on the business side of healthcare, including billing and collections. The high number of page views may have had something to do with the information being presented in slideshow format. Still, this feature had more than double the page views of the next most popular article. Okay, I get it: the business of healthcare is what makes all the rest of it possible.
What more do you know about practice management? What is the most valuable follow up on this topic we could deliver to you in 2014?
Once I filtered our web traffic reports for stories published in 2013, here are the ones that drew the most readers.
(1) Remote Patient Monitoring: 9 Promising Technologies
The pitch: From telemedicine robots to toilet sensors, remote patient monitoring technology continues to win venture capital. These nine startups have landed funding in the past year.
Note that the topic of remote patient monitoring and technologies that could enable more of it show up repeatedly on this list.
(2) 7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement
The pitch: Meaningful Use has put new strains on providers in terms of patient engagement, but these portals help ease the burden, says a recent KLAS report.
(3) 10 Mobile Health Apps From Uncle Sam
The pitch: New mobile apps from the Department of Health and Human Services, for consumers and doctors alike, let you search medical literature, locate health centers, fight drug abuse, and much more.
(4) Smartwatches Could Outshine Wearable Fitness Gadgets
The pitch: Samsung's Galaxy Gear and other new smartwatches equipped with fitness apps could squeeze the mobile health gadget market.
With fitness gadgets like the Fitbit drawing lots of attention, Ken Terry looked at the prospects for a more general-purpose wearable device to steal their thunder.
(5) Healthcare Organizations Go Big For Analytics
The pitch: Half of providers and payers see advanced analytics as their top investment priority, says IDC survey.
The demand for analytics technology and talent has been accelerating in healthcare, so look for much more on this topic from InformationWeek in 2014.
(6) Telehealth To Grow Six-Fold By 2017
The pitch: Remote patient monitoring will ramp up worldwide, largely driven by US hospitals working to reduce readmissions and avoid Medicare penalties, says InMedica study.
(7) 20 Health IT Leaders Who Are Driving Change
The pitch: Innovation is tough amid today's regulatory checklists. These leaders are getting it done.
Our annual roundup of healthcare IT leaders was an opportunity for readers to learn what these CIOs have done right.
(8) Healthcare Robotics: Patently Incredible Inventions
The pitch: Medical robots will change the operating room much like PCs reshaped the office. Get an advance look from these cutting-edge robotic technology patents and patent applications.
Intellectual property researcher Onat Ekinci created this nifty slideshow featuring colorized patent application sketches of the medical robots of the future.
(9) Hackers Outsmart Pacemakers, Fitbits: Worried Yet?
The pitch: Mobile health devices aren't as secure as you might think. Look at how researchers plan to strengthen security for consumer devices and regulated medical devices.
So far, this is still a hypothetical worry, based on hacks occurring in cybersecurity research labs. Still, doesn't the idea that a pacemaker would have an unsecured wireless connection freak you out a bit?
(10) Surgical Robots: Look Who's Coming To The OR
The pitch: Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci system dominates the field, but it doesn't have a lock on innovation. Take a look at present and future surgical robots.
Robots again, this time in photos, with a look at the dominant robotic surgery system and the challengers just over the horizon.
(11) Sharing Electronic Medical Records Still Too Hard
The pitch: Epic CEO Judy Faulkner and other health execs aren't thrilled with the state of EHR interoperability. What are today's big barriers?
Fair to say readers probably agreed this stuff is too hard?
(12) WellPoint To Launch National Telehealth Program
The pitch: Telehealth initiative provides live audio/video consultations with doctors in effort to improve patients' access to healthcare and save money.
Like our coverage of remote patient monitoring, this story about the potential of video consultations showed the power and the potential of care at a distance.
(13) Why Doctors Hate EHR Software
The pitch: Have meaningful use incentives merely propelled sales for a lot of lousy software?
I wrote this column shortly after being named section editor this fall. I was impressed by how many doctors I talked to were unimpressed by the electronic health records systems they felt were being foisted upon them.
(14) CMS CIO Leaves HealthCare.gov Mess For Private Sector
The pitch: CIO Tony Trenkle, who oversaw a $2 billion IT office for CMS, including the HealthCare.gov program, heads for the private sector.
I'm sure our coverage of the HealthCare.gov website launch misfire would rank high on the list, taken collectively, but there were so many stories to write about everything that went wrong (and so many other outlets chasing the same story), that only this one about a CIO beating a hasty retreat showed up near the top of the list.
(15) Hacking Electronic Health Records
The pitch: How a dangerous security flaw discovered in one of the most pervasive electronic medical record platforms in the US was found and fixed before it could do damage.
This story about vulnerabilities in VistA, the open-source platform originally developed by the Veterans Administration, is one we picked up earlier this month from our colleagues at Dark Reading.
What Have We Learned?
Aside from a sequel to our practice management roundup, looks like readers can't get enough of remote patient monitoring and its potential. But what do you think of this list as a model for what InformationWeek Healthcare ought to be covering in 2014? With Obamacare coming into full force, Meaningful Use Stage 2, ICD-10 coding -- there are plenty of serious issues we ought to be covering, and we will.
I'd just like to know what the sexy issues will be, too.
Though the online exchange of medical records is central to the government's Meaningful Use program, the effort to make such transactions routine has just begun. Also in the Barriers to Health Information Exchange issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: why cloud startups favor Direct Protocol as a simpler alternative to centralized HIEs. (Free registration required.)