The Future of Healthcare Innovation, Big Data, Security and Patient Engagement

HIMSS organizers, in preparation of its annual conference and trade show and as a way to rally attendees around several trending topics for the coming show, asked the healthcare community how it feels about several key issues. I’ve reached out to readers of this site so they can respond to what they see as the future of healthcare innovation, data security, patient engagement and big data.

Their responses follow.

Do you agree with the following thoughts? If not, why; what’s missing?


Sean Benson
Sean Benson

Sean Benson, vice president of innovation, clinical solutions, Wolters Kluwer Health
Future innovations in health IT, big data in particular, will focus on the aggregation and transformation of patient data into actionable knowledge that can improve patient and financial outcomes. The ever-growing volume of patient data contained within disparate clinical systems continues to expand. This siloed data often forces physicians to act on fragmented and incomplete information, making it difficult to apply the latest evidence. Comprehensive solutions will normalize, codify and aggregate patient data in a cloud system and run it against clinical scenarios to create evidence-based advice that is then delivered directly to the point of care via a variety of mobile devices. This will empower physicians with patient-specific knowledge based on the latest medical evidence delivered to the point of care in a timely, appropriate manner, ultimately resulting in higher quality treatment and more complete care. 

Susan M. Reese MBA, RN, CPHIMS
Susan Reese

Susan Reese, MBA, RN, CPHIMS, chief nurse executive, Kronos Incorporated
Gamification — the trend of creating computer-based employee games and contests for the purpose of aligning employee productivity with the organization’s goals — is currently a popular topic with business leaders and IT. For proof, consider that Gartner recently projected that by 2015, 50 percent of all organizations will be using gamification of some kind, and that by 2016, businesses will spend a total of $2.6 billion on this technology.

With numbers like these, it is clear that that gaming is serious business and that it is here to stay. But at this point, you may be asking yourself, “Could gamification work in my healthcare environment? What potential benefits could it have?””

Today, many healthcare organizations are looking to the future and considering gamification as a way to increase employee engagement, collaboration, and productivity as well as to align their behavior with larger business goals – but they don’t know how to do it quite yet. Also, gamification can be a delicate decision, complete with advantages and risks. After all, employees’ day-to-day work responsibilities and careers are not games and can’t be trivialized. Healthcare organizations must be careful to avoid sending the wrong message to their workforce, or the whole program could backfire, or even lead to more negative consequences.

Mike Lanciloti
Mike Lanciloti

Mike Lanciloti, vice president of product management and marketing, Spectralink
In today’s digital age, healthcare IT needs to come a long way to get up to speed in innovation and connectivity. However, as we begin to see mobile play a larger role in the industry, healthcare is moving the needle on innovation as well.

The mobile revolution has picked up in healthcare for both health IT professionals and in patient care. Primary as healthcare providers find ways to utilize smartphones, mobile devices and Wi-Fi networks to improve the communication and efficiency of their workforce.

Through mobile devices, clinicians have the ability to access what they need, when they need it. Mobile devices ensure nurses and mobile staff are equipped with the right technology to promote timely, efficient and reliable communication. This not only allows healthcare professionals to perform their jobs more effectively but also helps deliver a higher quality of patient care.

The growing mobile trend does present several questions for the industry. Hospital managers are quickly learning that an influx of smartphones into the hospital setting can become a larger problem than anticipated. Not only do personal devices lack the security required for enterprise-owned devices, they pose other risks, calling into question issues surrounding encryption, authorized access and mobile security. Personal phones aren’t designed to be equipped with the same encryption capabilities as enterprise-owned mobile devices.

For this reason, hospital CIOs and IT managers looking to improve communication are turning purpose-built devices that function as smartphones—using secure text messaging, workflow integration and voice as well as a multitude of other features—but also operate within the confines of a hospital and its Wi-Fi network.

As mobile becomes a reality for the healthcare industry, CIOs and decision makers must consider the impact it will have and have a proper plan in place for adopting such technology in the future. The healthcare industry must continue to embrace innovation to improve efficiency and the overall quality of patient care.

Patient engagement

Jacob Sattelmair, CEO, Wellframe

When it comes to patient engagement, human care works, but doesn’t scale. Technology scales well, but when disparate from care, tends not to work for patients with real need. The future of patient engagement is technology being used to amplify healthcare resources to guide and support patients on a more continuous basis, addressing the emotional/relational as much as the informational/clinical needs of patients.

Sandy Halliburton

Sandy Halliburton, healthcare partner and regional practice lead for Tatum
When the Affordable Care Act was passed and the personal health record (PHR) envisioned, the healthcare IT market hit a level of frenzy. Each major electronic health record vendor and other stand-alone companies produced their own PHR. How do they work across health systems and networks? If a patient of a large integrated delivery system (IDS) wants their PHR accessible to their doctor or if they’re admitted to the hospital, it requires that they see a physician and hospital that uses the same system as the IDS. If the patient wants to see a highly respected out-of-network physician at an academic medical center, for example, the information will likely be inaccessible. This, of course, is a great strategy for the IDS from the standpoint of physician integration and patient “stickiness,” but what about the patient? Despite the RHIOs of yesterday and ongoing attempts at interoperability, the patient is still the loser here. With the proliferation of disparate systems across our healthcare ecosystem, what does the future hold? A centralized repository? Whether realistic or not, it would be a hackers dream. At the end of the day, the question becomes, what is the patient’s role in maintaining their health and how can the industry best support them?

Jan Oldenburg, senior manager in the healthcare advisory practice, EY

The future of patient engagement is…. more engaging.

Today we are not as effective as we need to be in engaging patients and consumers in their health journeys. The reasons vary: portals with clumsy navigation, physicians and staff who don’t encourage portal use, fragmented medical records, and the science of sustaining engagement in health behaviors in an early state.

However, the future can be more engaging if we make it:

The future is bright for consumer health engagement, but we must continue to push ourselves to be more engaging in all these dimensions.

Healthcare security

Francis J.M. Turner, vice president management and OEM, Threatstop
For years, the industry has predicted cyber security threats for the healthcare industry will continue to increase in intensity and complexity with the recent revelations from Premera and Anthem being proof points. Most health care companies are following the high standards set by HIPAA and other regulatory agencies. They’re spending more money than ever on security, but the Cyber Criminals keep finding ways to get beyond the firewall and continue the exfiltration and theft of sensitive data, including personal medical records. The future will continue to be an escalated game of cat and mouse. As fast as new prevention techniques are released, criminals are onto the next generation of APT attacks. The true future of healthcare security will include a multi-layered defense. Once you conclude that Cyber Criminals will find ways through and around defenses, the next logical step is to add a layer of defense that doesn’t deflect a breaching agent, but rather cuts off its ability to command and control; block its ability to “call home” and start leaking data.

Michael Campana, senior manager healthcare marketing, Ricoh Americas Corporation
Healthcare organizations generate, capture and share information at a record pace. Medical records alone contain some of the most valuable personal information that allows hackers to gain full reign on a person’s identity and do some major damage. Finding ways to combat these attacks includes discovering secure ways to capture and manage data for personal health records, no matter the form (paper or electronic). There are many ways an organization can help thwart a data breach now and in the future. Here, I’d like to highlight three. First, encrypt your data. Encryption protects the integrity of documents, images, messages and other personal health information.

Next, look at your data management strategy holistically and identify gaps. Are all workstations locked down? Is every person with access to patient information fully trained on all HIPAA guidelines? Finally, practice security in patient engagement. This includes things like putting more emphasis on secure access.

When strong information management is backed by a reliable technology infrastructure healthcare organizations are on their way to achieving information mobility, the ability to move information throughout an organization, regardless of whether that format is paper or digital. Having proper privacy and security measures in place is a critical step in this process. This reduces the chance of data compromise, whether it be clinical, financial, administrative or operational.

Big data

David Bolton, senior director global market development, public sector and healthcare, Qlik
As we see it, big data is going to get a lot more interesting as it pertains to health IT. The adoption of self-service analytics tools by healthcare providers has opened the door for organizations to start collecting and integrating entirely new types of data. Patient data and EMRs are only the beginning. Now providers are starting to integrate external sources such as clinical benchmarks, vaccine and prescription usage and effectiveness, and even data collected from new clinical trials. This data is changing the way doctors provide care as it enables them to spot trends or best practices and adapt the way they treat patients. In the future we will also see more emphasis on the area of genetics and personalized medicine, which will leverage massive amounts of data to explore and test new medical approaches that could fundamentally change the way conditions are treated moving forward.

2 comments on “The Future of Healthcare Innovation, Big Data, Security and Patient Engagement”

Future; Big Data, Security, and Patient Engagement? Big data and security are being forced upon providers via Affordable (seriously?) Care Act, ICD-10 and HIPAA. More data via med-links of all sorts continues to be helpful – especially in the ability to connect rural healthcare with national resources.
But Patient Engagement? I agree with the previous comment that this is not all that scalable. Patient engagement implies, correctly, patient/provider interaction time. I know of no “crystal ball” that purports an upcoming increase in reimbursement for care.
In order to facilitate patient/provider interaction and address profitability, Big Data, Security and Patient Engagement all need to generate efficiencies. Facilities will have to adapt to enhance cost containment as well.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *