Health IT Industry Discussions: AI, Security & Connectivity

By Michelle Morris on November 15th, 2017

A few of the Dodge team members were able to join the Health IT Leadership Summit in early November. Formed by the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society, the Summit provides back-to-back sessions, of national and local healthcare IT experts with clinical, technological, legal and security backgrounds.

There were a number of key takeaways shared during the day-long event that both B2B and B2C healthcare organizations should consider:

Artificial Intelligence
Earlier this year we posted a blog on artificial intelligence, but keynote speaker Shahid Shah, chairman and co-founder of Citus Health, brought up some excellent points about how without smart people teaching computers how to think, artificial intelligence can’t be the success story we need it to be.

Artificial intelligence is built on machine learning, and machine learning is built on “pattern matching mastery.” Ensuring the data we mine, collect and aggregate from multiple systems is clean doesn’t result in successful artificial intelligence. Instead, we have to make sure reports, analytics and predictions are accurate – teaching computers with all of these items results in successful AI. Machine learning is a necessary step in using AI to its fullest potential, allowing clinicians to focus on helping patients when they truly need a human doctor to intervene.

In years to come, easy-to-recognize symptoms that can be matched through patterns could be handled with the right technology – being a direct solution to the physician shortage. For example, with the right data points and image recognition, a bot can recognize a rash as poison ivy through a photo of a child’s hand and answering very specific follow-up questions. This idea supports preventative care, saves time for the patient and allows clinicians to focus on large cases and patient needs.

Cybersecurity
It seems like once a week there is a new security breach and a top 10 list of what executives can do to ensure they have a cybersecurity plan rolled out at their business, hospital or care organization. The panel that focused on this topic reminded conference attendees that cybersecurity isn’t just a checklist – it’s a culture change. Comparing cybersecurity preparation and protocol adoption to that of the seatbelt, leadership teams need to focus on increasing education and awareness of these threats. Take a holistic approach and consider your people, process and tools. Don’t just drive change by fear, educate all employees by relating the threats to them.

A practice administrator of a large Atlanta-based healthcare group said, “When changes are being made in the organization, make us believers of the cause. Tell us what to do, but speak our language.”

Data Connectivity
This topic seems like old news – but more and more our industry is seeing success stories of when data connectivity (integration, interoperability, sharing, etc.) is done correctly, great things are happening. For example, Chesley Richards, MD, MPH, Deputy Director for Public Health Scientific Services at the CDC, as well as the Director of the Office of Public Health Scientific Services, shared how data connectivity enabled the CDC to get ahead of the Ebola crisis and decrease the impact of this disease in Africa. 

How can we establish data connectivity that will lead to this type of success? While there are a number of companies, technologies, associations and partnerships we can point to, consider the items Dr. Richards shared for the foundation of success:

  • Collaboration: IT companies need to work with clinicians to figure out the type of technology they really need
  • Education: Clinicians need to speak with patients to make it clear why data sharing is important and make the end goal clear – and how each patient helps
  • Transparency: Patients need to provide feedback to IT companies on why they may not be sharing their data
  • Communication: All three stakeholders need to have conversations to improve data sharing, increasing connectivity and leveraging the data to improve outcomes

Are these themes on your organization’s radar? How are they impacting your clients – and how are you showing your expertise in this area when needed?

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