By Todd Graham
The evolution of technology in healthcare brings incredible opportunities, as well as risks. Today, healthcare accounts for 30% of the world’s data production.
Payors and providers have made great investments spending nearly $9 billion in cloud solutions in 2017 and projected to double that spend by 2021. Organizations are seeing solid ROI’s for this spend. Productivity gains of 15-20% will be realized through the adoption of AI driven by cloud providers. This data comes from both healthcare and life-sciences groups.
Consumers are also demanding it, adopting a bring your own data mentality enabled by major EMR’s providing access and portability. By 2020, as much as 25% of data used in medical care will be collected and shared with healthcare systems by the patients themselves. This all sounds amazing, but it also carries significant risk. Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations have doubled and organizations were often underprepared to respond to those attacks and protect patient and organization data.
I’m often asked by my healthcare clients what are the best practices to prepare for the opportunities and risks with healthcare technology transitions. I start by addressing what many in the industry refer to as the four pillars of healthcare technology transformation:
- Health IT
- Precision Medicine
- Connected Health
In Health IT, growth in optimized clinical applications as well as private, public and hybrid cloud will be experienced by modern infrastructures supporting new workloads, and improved performance delivering cost-efficiency to existing systems. Technology will continue to automate manual tasks and reduce bottlenecks to accelerate the speed of innovation. We will also see IT deliver differentiated business models and capabilities to patients and internal users. This will be achieved through a modern data center, with automated service delivery and transformed IT operations utilizing multi-cloud integration.
In Precision Medicine, rapid transformation is already underway in big data and analytics, machine learning and clinical genomics and HPC. Organizations will expand capabilities to analyze data that may exist across disparate systems. With that power, big data analytics across EMRs, data warehouses, research, case studies and patient data will enable healthcare organizations to seize insight on massive volumes of data that already exist. Another major transformation in precision medicine will be the continued acceleration of genome sequencing along with reduced costs. From GATK 3.8 to GATK 4.0 there was a 26 hour, or 72% reduction in genome processing time. And from 2001 to 2017 there was a reduction in per genome sequencing cost from $100M to $1,121. As population genomics grow on a worldwide scale, additional time and cost efficiencies will follow supported by technology advances.
Innovative devices, healthcare IoT, TeleHealth and patient engagement make up the connected health pillar of transformation. This innovation that we are witnessing will only accelerate with the adoption of the 5G bandwidth. Innovative devices and displays put organizational success within the care provider hands through technology designed specifically for the way they work. IoT and Digital workplace solutions will deliver a seamless user experiences without sacrificing management and security. Solutions integrate IoT, identity, application and enterprise mobility to deliver anytime, anywhere access to all apps and services across all devices. And most importantly, technology will empower patient engagement. Patients are now acting like consumers because their expectations of service through technology have changed. This change has accelerated the development of technologies to better provide new paths for care such as telehealth, teleconsultations, patient portals, etc.
The fourth pillar of transformation is security. How to protect data, detect threats and identify and control access is critical to managing risk. The consequences of data breaches in healthcare go beyond identity theft – compromised data can put a patient at risk, incur costly fines, harm a healthcare provider’s reputation, and hinder organizational efficiency.
Moving forward, healthcare organizations need to create resilience by building security into their modern infrastructure and simplifying the environment. Also, to best manage risk, healthcare organizations must unify security and risk management practices; only context will enable better business outcomes. With this new approach, security teams can move from being reactive to being advocates of what’s possible.
As healthcare organizations navigate their technology evolution, we see great opportunities in the future throughout all four pillars of transformation. For those organizations that commit to a modernized infrastructure, automate their service delivery and management, this will transform IT operations to deliver data driven decisions, and the benefits will quickly follow. Improved care flow and efficiencies, increased patient engagement and positive business outcomes will far outweigh the technology investments implemented to ensure success in the future.
Todd Graham is a Key Account Director at Getronics, responsible for assisting healthcare customers with securing, protecting, optimizing and leveraging their data. Getronics is a global leader in Managed Digital Workspace, Applications, Industry Specific Software Solutions, Multi-Cloud Management and Unified Communications.
—Healthcare Informatics Analyst estimated revenues
—Intel® Health & Life Sciences
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