Friday, March 3, 2017

AI Takes Center Stage at HIMSS 2017

It was a big week for Healthcare Technology Professionals with the annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition taking place in Orlando, Florida.  This year the conference was bigger than ever with over 45,000 attendees and more than 1,200 vendors on the show floor. With 300 sessions spread across 5 days, there was no shortage of amazing presentations, great conversation, and information sharing. Distilling all of that, we took away the following key themes from the week_

  • The Rise of the Healthcare Consumer – Consumers are approaching healthcare with the same expectations they have for other consumer and social oriented technologies, expecting to curate their own experiences. The shift to value oriented systems and technology innovations in connected health systems are also driving active and engaged consumer populations.
  • AI and Cognitive Computing’s Impact on Innovation in Healthcare – From making sense of unstructured medical records, designing treatment plans, personal health assistants, drug creation, and automated claims adjudication, AI’s potential is just beginning to be realized.
  • Mainstream Adoption of Precision Medicine – Beyond standard medical treatments, precision medicine looks to develop disease management plans based on individualized variability in environmental, behavioral, and genetic factors.
  • Lack of Interoperability – Despite 75% of hospitals now using some form of basic EHRs, only 23% of these hospitals can find, send, receive, and use this information due to significant sharing barriers between organizations. Despite much work in the area, interoperability continues to be a challenge within the industry, especially with EHRs.
  • Provider, Payer Collaboration – Continued cost pressures across the industry have given rise to Accountable Care Networks, seeking to spread risk and incentivize both sides of the continuum to work together and improve health outcomes.

IBM CEO Ginni’s Rometty’s keynote set the tone for the week with Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence taking front stage.  She made many great points and left everyone in attendance confident that Cognitive Computing and Artificial Intelligence are real and have the potential to change almost everything we’re doing in healthcare for the better.  She also mentioned that we need to think beyond this technology being used on consumer level experiences like speech-to-text on a search screen and onto using it to “augment the intelligence of everyone in healthcare”.   A major emphasis was made on the statement that the focus of augmented intelligence is not on replacing humans but rather on scaling and augmenting human capabilities.

Another key learning from her keynote was the statement that competitive advantage is being achieved by those that don’t just implement point solutions and algorithms, but from those that can deliver cognitive capabilities across many business processes in the organization.  She also stated that these solutions must have transparency, the ability to know who provided input into the system, what data was used, and why specific insights were generated.

In exploring the multitude of vendors present at the exhibition, it was impossible to not notice the heavy emphasis on Patient Engagement, Care Management, and Population Health Solutions.  Driven by the rise of consumerization in healthcare and an industry shift from the Fee-for-Service model towards Value-Based or Accountable Care – both health providers and payers are now being incentivized to focus on health outcomes and to manage spend across consumer populations.  Many of these tools include a focus on helping consumers be more informed and accountable for their own health through mobile based tools for delivering healthcare and wellness content directly to consumers.  The Population Health solutions have a provider side focus on managing high-risk and/or high-cost populations of consumers by proactively identifying these consumers and providing a higher touch model for preventive care.

There is no shortage of technology vendors looking to help in these areas and many healthcare organizations have already implemented such tools. However, there has been skepticism in these solution’s ability to effectively engage each consumer. This is an area we’ve paid special attention to and have worked with our customers to deliver augmented intelligence solutions that significantly improve this engagement and their respective health outcomes. From our experience, we’ve identified that these engagement solutions must_

  • Show consumers that you understand them as an individual
  • Present contextually relevant information for each interaction along their healthcare journey
  • Learn about the consumer with every interaction to further understand their preferences and motivations
  • Keep them connected to their health in real-time, helping them answer the important question “am I healthy today?”

This is where AI can help push the story beyond the hype and deliver real outcomes. By understanding every consumer and building a unique “Profile-of-One” based both on what we know and can infer about them, we can deliver hyper personalized insights that can be surfaced within patient engagement solutions.  We can also use this unique perspective to surface personalized guidance for care managers and population health professionals, enabling them to manage larger populations and deliver highly relevant information at the right time and in the right way to maximize health outcomes and reduce costs.

Beyond patient engagement and care management, we at CognitiveScale are closely aligned to help our customers approach their entire enterprise with a cognitive lens and believe this holistic approach is critical for success.  We believe that AI powered personalization will revolutionize the way patients and members will experience healthcare in the future. It will also enhance the care team’s ability to draw insights to make them more effective and productive. AI embedded business processes will improve the speed and accuracy of claim processing, billing and appeals, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs. These activities will also be done with trust and control by having every insight delivered with supporting evidence from the data to support security, privacy, and audit requirements.

All in all, HIMSS is one of the best conferences to attend. It provides valuable networking and learning opportunities. We walked away with major validation on how the healthcare industry is changing and specifically on where AI can drive real benefits and impact.  Shout out to our partner, Deloitte, for hosting us in their booth and featuring our Cognitive Healthcare solutions among their innovative technology and solution offerings.  We look forward to seeing everyone again next year at HIMSS 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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