Investing Today for Better Outcomes Tomorrow

by Molly True
March 25, 2019

Now that one of the biggest healthcare IT conferences of the year—HIMSS―has passed, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the event. Three key themes stand out for me this year:

  • A heavy focus on practical engagement solutions for patients and providers
  • Innovating with AI and machine learning to improve patient outcomes
  • Securing healthcare information and management systems more robustly

Three key themes from the Healthcare Conference HIMSS19

Focusing on practical engagement solutions

What was different this year? Patient engagement has been a primary focus for many years, but this year’s presentations and education sessions shifted that focus from strategic concepts to tactical and practical solutions that can make a difference today. Organizations are focused on deploying solutions that engage patients where they are with a personalized experience. It was also clear that we cannot forget providers by only focusing on their patients. The focus must be on promoting patient engagement, clinician engagement and—most importantly—engagement between those populations. Patients bring consumer-like expectations into every interaction they have with their healthcare providers and there are rich learnings to be had from other industries. For more insight on this topic, check out the full panel discussion with Healthcare IT Today or watch the recap video of our HIMSS19 session with GoHealth Urgent Care on The Retail Healthcare Delivery Evolution below.

Innovating with AI and machine learning

Providing critical information to providers at the point of care is essential to improving patient outcomes and reducing clinician burnout. AI and machine learning are key components for making that possible and are starting to yield practical solutions. To extract meaningful and actionable information from an ever‑growing mound of digital data, we need the help of AI and machine learning. Increasing demand for AI and machine learning use cases are forcing organizations to rethink their reliance on traditional data centers and consider transitioning to a hybrid cloud architecture. The sheer volume of data processing required to support AI and machine learning is outpacing organizations’ ability to spin up the supporting infrastructure—accelerating migrations to the cloud. Organizations are just scratching the surface; AI and machine learning will be pivotal topics in conversations to improve both financial and patient health.

Securing health information and management systems

In 2019, the focus of cybersecurity has shifted to connected medical devices and continued security attacks specifically targeted at healthcare organizations. Consider the worst-case scenario in which a bad actor takes control of a device connected to a patient to literally create a “life or death” event. Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime globally. Based on PricewaterhouseCoopers research which surveyed over 3,000 business leaders from more than 80 countries, less than half of companies globally are prepared for a cybersecurity attack. According to the insurance organization Beazley, 37% of all ransomware incidents during the third quarter of 2018 were aimed at the healthcare industry. With historically limited budget allocations for cybersecurity in the healthcare industry, I am certainly not alone in my concern that few healthcare organizations are sufficiently prepared for a cybersecurity attack.

While much improvement is needed in the healthcare industry with regards to the patient and provider experience and―unquestionably—security, it’s exciting to see an increased focus on the innovative investments and next-generation solutions that will improve the health of organizations in these critical areas.