Technology is Not the Obstacle to Healthcare Transformation

By: Michael Joseph, Founder & CEO, Prime Dimensions | @HealthData4All


Navigating the complexity, urgency and pervasiveness of the challenges facing today’s healthcare industry requires visionary leadership to coalesce, empower, influence and inspire stakeholders, so that innovation and ingenuity flourish at all levels across a collaborative ecosystem that spans providers, payers, device manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, academia, policy makers and the startup community. Against the backdrop of this holistic view of the healthcare innovation ecosystem, the HX360 Innovation Leaders Program is your venue for inspiration, thought-provoking interactive discussions, fireside chats and constructive dialogue focused on feasible solutions. You will hear from a select group of such passionate, influential C-suite executives and visionary leaders that are applying best practices in innovation to implement digital solutions for healthcare transformation that solve our most compelling problems: value-based care, patient engagement, population health, evidence-based medicine, consumerization, care coordination, clinical decision support, healthcare affordability, and quality improvement.

Collectively, the HX360 Innovation Leaders Program roster of speakers and panelists features insights and perspectives on clinical, financial and operational aspects of care delivery and the need for care delivery redesign. Moreover, they understand that every interaction with patients, regardless of setting or media, must be executed with compassion, empathy, humility and mindfulness. As patients gravitate toward consuming healthcare remotely and in new settings via telehealth, mHealth and retail clinics, the landscape of traditional in-patient and acute care infrastructure will be repurposed and re-imaged to exceed future standards of care, patient experience and provider expectations. Such disintermediation in healthcare has lagged other industries, i.e. financial, retail, media, etc. While it is now occurring, albeit in a rather disproportionate and inconsistent manner, healthcare executives are taking measures to balance competing forces and oppose the status quo to be change agents so that the patient emerges as the ultimate beneficiary.

At the core of digital transformation are (1) user-centered design to enhance user experience and adoption; (2) standard APIs that provide seamless data access and semantic interoperability for powering digital health solutions and applications; and (3) information security provisions to protect patient privacy, including user authentication, identity management and secure transactions. As the trend for digital tools is moving toward mobile platforms and cloud-based services, innovators and designers must also consider how to enhance and enrich features and capabilities, so that the tools remain adaptive, flexible, simple and convenient. Next-generation database solutions and analytic platforms enhance our ability to extract actionable clinical intelligence from ever-increasing volumes of health data and moving toward systems for cognitive computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These capabilities are particularly important given the complexity, volume and variety of patient-generated and genomics data, necessary to develop effective care pathways and gene therapies to treat and cure cancer and other deadly disease through precision medicine.

The evolution of legacy health IT systems has created a labyrinth of fragmented data environments characterized by data silos that create duplicative, conflicting records and operational inefficiencies. For digital solutions to truly transform healthcare in an era of care delivery redesign, it is essential to have secure access to patient records that present the 360-degree view of patients at any point-of-care. Utilizing a systems approach, combined with journey mapping and design-thinking, will accelerate the application of scientific insights to understand the elements that influence health outcomes, model the relationships among those elements, and develop feasible solutions to yield desired results.

Technology is not the obstacle to healthcare transformation. It takes dedicated, highly skilled, multi-disciplinary teams of clinicians, researchers, technologists, data scientists, IT architects, solution designer and developers to guide, build and deploy solutions that yield measurable, impactful results. It requires making investment decisions based on the business case and a well-defined, complete set of evaluation criteria that align with strategic goals and objectives. We can learn from the experiences of executives and leaders who have championed innovative solutions, made the tough decisions to execute, and persevered, often amidst adversity from conflicting stakeholder interests, with a sense of purpose, accountability and transparency.

To unbreak and humanize healthcare, today’s healthcare leaders are overcoming industry headwinds and obstacles that have been mounting over the past 30 years: beaurocratic forces, corporate inertia, entrenched vendors, special interests, government infighting and evolving policies that dictate who has access to care, and how, where and when care is delivered. They are taking action to resolve the inefficiencies, vast health disparities and underserved populations. They are taking action to improve quality, efficiency and performance. They are taking action reverse the rising cost of care, especially prescription drugs, and out-of-pocket expenses that keep patients from getting the care they need when they need it.

Let the occasion of this year’s HX360 Innovation Leaders Program represent a unifying resolution among all of us to solve these pressing problems together through authentic collaboration, so that patients are truly at the center of our healthcare ecosystem. Engaging and connecting patients through digital solutions can alleviate so many problems. To be successful, the following components are essential:

  • Realization that the status quo will not be sufficient to exceed future standards of care, patient experience and provider expectations;
  • Visionary leadership that empowers, inspires, and is not afraid to fail;
  • Multidisciplinary teams of specialists who guide, build, deploy, and scale solutions;
  • An imperative to share data with safeguards for privacy and security;
  • Ingenuity, intellectual curiosity and willingness to “push the envelope”
  • Use of an agile delivery model and lean start-up approach for rapid deployment of solutions
  • Utilization of cumulative effect of continuous improvement, incremental advances and adjacent technology
  • A forum for collaboration and encourage free exchange of ideas among all stakeholders 

With proper implementation of digital solutions – including data, analytics, applications and APIs – we will usher in a new compute paradigm to gain new insights, uncover hidden patterns, influence outcomes, and predict events. Such digital transformation is now at the forefront and showing great promise for healthcare organizations to improve clinical, operational, and financial aspects of care delivery.

HIMSS and PCHA are also presenting an expanded HX360 Innovation Zone where disruptive technologies for health and wellness will be on full display. And be sure to visit the inaugural Innovation Makerspace in Booth 7785, hosted by Dr. Charles Webster (@wareflo).

I look forward to constructive discussions on these and related topics with all participants at the HX360 Innovation Leaders Program. I will be in attendance to meet as many of you as possible. Feel free to contact me in advance and during the event. The success of this program and its impact depends on all of us contributing to the conversation. So, please reach out to me and follow #HX360 on Twitter.


in health and IT meet.