We’re not much in favor of rigidly categorizing news by industry here at Xconomy, in part because we follow exciting companies that often transcend conventional definitions of what is a software, energy, or biotechnology business. But we do try our best to deliver breaking news and in-depth coverage to communities of readers, and one such community is clearly coalescing around the use of information technology in healthcare. To help bring that community more front and center, today we’re announcing the launch of a sector-specific channel for health IT news.
Our new Health IT channel features healthcare technology news coverage and other features from across the Xconomy network in Boston, San Diego, and Seattle, as well as other important “national” stories not specific to one of our cities. The channel has a new feature not found on our previous Life Sciences and Startups channels: the Health IT AppWatch, a section where we’re delivering news on applications that help consumers and medical professionals exploit the capabilities of the Web and mobile devices to improve their own well being or the health of those close to them or in their care.
As part of launching the new channel, we’re also boosting our efforts to provide insights and opinions from top innovators in the field of healthcare technology through our Xconomist Forum (the equivalent of our Op-Ed page), already one of the most popular and most-read portions of our site. And, as many of you may know, we are bringing our new focus on Health IT live through events on both coasts. We’re holding our first dedicated health IT event, Healthcare in Transition, at the MIT Media Lab on April 26. A few weeks later, on May 12 in Seattle, we are holding How Information is Transforming Medicine and Healthcare. Both those events feature leading executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors from some of the most interesting and dynamic health IT startups and large companies around.
Our new channel, therefore, is a vehicle through which we’re setting out to capture the growing excitement and opportunities around using tech as a tool to revolutionize healthcare. The U.S. government is pouring billions of dollars into technology for sharing and storing electronic health records, recognizing the value of using information technology to improve the quality and economics of the healthcare system. But startups and their investors are already looking beyond the forthcoming surge in electronic health records adoption, rushing to fill a bevy of gaps in how information is gathered, analyzed, and shared throughout the healthcare system. Meantime, large established companies such as the data storage and management giant EMC, wireless heavyweight Qualcomm, and software behemoth Microsoft are targeting the healthcare sector as major part of their growth strategies.
Back to our aversion to rigid categorization, we fully recognize that the “Health IT” moniker imperfectly represents the industry terrain we’re covering with our new channel. When some people hear “health IT,” they think of companies that sell software to hospitals or other healthcare customers. While that’s definitely part of what we’re covering here, the channel will also include coverage of companies that are pioneering new uses of technology and melding innovations from multiple disciplines to improve healthcare—not just the treatment of illness but the promotion and continuation of wellness. Think about how iRobot and members of the MIT Media Lab are developing robotics to help patients live healthier lives, how companies are finding synergies in the semiconductor and molecular biology fields to develop faster and cheaper methods to sequence DNA, and how firms are embedding microprocessors into drugs and devices to improve their functionality. You’ll find all of those types of stories on this channel.
Indeed, the cross-disciplinary nature of health IT makes it a great fit for Xconomy and the life sciences and technology innovators we serve. Health IT brings together, say, veteran biotech executives who speak FDA jargon and engineers who build robust and secure databases. Likewise, this channel is tapping the experience of the Xconomy editorial staff, which includes great tech writers like chief correspondent Wade Roush in Boston and our national biotech editor, Luke Timmerman, in Seattle. They and other members of our staff understand the technology and healthcare industries, and we’re all looking forward to collaborating on making the Health IT Channel an especially useful resource to our readers. We’re also encouraging those readers to share their ideas about stories and health apps that they would like to see featured. In fact, the channel itself is very much a product of the feedback we have received from our readers and supporters, many of whom felt that health IT coverage needed to have its own home at Xconomy. Now it does!
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