HIMSS 2018: The era of intelligence meets healthcare

  • Posted on April 10, 2018
  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes
Health Information Management Systems Society Conference

I've been in healthcare for ten years as a professional, and nearly 20 as an active patient.  It has been interesting to watch the evolution of the industry over this period of time.  The industry changes were certainly in full view at the HIMSS (Health Information Management Systems Society) conference a few weeks ago. This was my third time at HIMSS and I can say with high certainty that healthcare is in the thick of the 4th industrial revolution, the Era of Intelligence, and many healthcare organizations are on a journey to becoming intelligent enterprises - not only because it is the right thing to do but because they desperately need to.

First, our definition of intelligent enterprise. It is an "enterprise which can predict and lead its market through digital realization, empowering business process agility and activating insight and innovation.” To get there, all three of those elements need to come together. 

I admit that I was looking for the existence of (or at least the promise of) intelligent healthcare enterprises at HIMSS 2018 as I attended educational sessions, walked the show floor and engaged in conversations with other attendees. What stuck with me were several interesting and thought-provoking takeaways (see below). I believe these topics will continue to be discussed and remain a focus for healthcare organizations over the months to come.

1. Cloud safe. Get there. Cloud will facilitate the fastest path to transformation to the intelligent enterprise (safer than the on-premise data center).

2. Data is everywhere. So much data in healthcare. Let's do something with it NOW! The key is to pick the right tools to surface the insights at the right time to improve outcomes and streamline processes. The focus is taking the data and turning it into actionable information.

3. AI-powered tech is here. It is ready today and can create instant efficiencies. Think of the applications for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for BOTH business operation improvements and clinical improvements.

4. Experience and trust deliver success. (I admit to my own bias on this one). There is an overwhelming number of point solution and small start-up vendors out there. But look for partners that have been and will be around for the long haul. The information and data that passes through your applications are too crucial to hand over to an organization that could be gone tomorrow.

5. Adapt and lead. The uncertainty of regulation and reform does not seem to be slowing down the progress of investing in technology. Everyone knows what needs to be done and is moving in that direction. Designing with the patient or member at the center of every process seems to be the accepted standard. Risk can be reduced when investing in new technology solutions if a highly adaptable system is chosen.

6. Caregivers need help, too. There is more and more recognition of the role that caregivers play in the overall healthcare picture but provider burnout is a real concern. This reinforces the idea that the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim should actually be rewritten as a quadruple aim: 1) improving outcomes, 2) driving down cost, 3) improving patient experience, 4) improving provider and caregiver experience.

7. Think patient but also think consumer. Consumerism in healthcare is just beginning. Healthcare now has the added responsibility of delivering satisfaction on a consumer level as well as on the patient experience level.

8. Business processes need agility. Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record EMR) tools cannot do it all and no one should wait for them to try. Look at the other enterprise vendors.

9. Cybersecurity is a top priority for everyone. Technology tools must have a strong foundation in and ongoing commitment to keeping data safe. Security should be a core pillar to any technology solution and organizations should have a proven record of continuous security investment into their platforms.

Nearly every educational session I attended highlighted multiple organizations collaborating to solve challenges. It made it very clear to me that even for intelligent healthcare enterprises transformation is a lengthy and complicated journey, that often gets harder before it gets easier and it can rarely be done alone. It takes partnerships and trusted advisors as well as agility, insight, innovation and realization. It is not for the faint of heart.

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