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HIMSS18: AI and cyber security, what is going on with data in healthcare?

How exactly can AI make a real difference in healthcare? This was just one of the topics people were attempting to answer at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems and Society (HIMSS) Conference in March.

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Each year this conference brings together people with cutting-edge products and solutions, world-class education, and opportunities to solve challenges in health information and technology. With discussions on topics such as machine learning, the internet of things, cyber security and artificial intelligence (AI) the focus this year was on how the new technologies that everyone is talking about in the consumer space are starting to impact the provision of healthcare. Many attendees discussed how AI and big data innovations are driving the healthcare industry, with the big tech companies such as Microsoft and Apple launching new computing tools for intelligent healthcare.

On a more cautious note, alongside the excitement there was discussion of healthcare’s slow adoption of technology in general and data-based interventions in particular. In many cases, the infrastructure simply isn’t there, with healthcare professionals still finding it arduous to use their EHR systems, and in many cases relying on fax machines to send and receive information. Physicians and systems can be resistant to the idea of incorporating new data into care, wary of anything that may require additional time, analysis or interpretation. But attitudes are slowly changing, at least where the value of technology and data interventions can be proven and implementation made simple.

Throughout the event there was a real attempt to identify how new and upcoming technologies can work to empower the people using them. Patient engagement was a key theme across channels; from enabling simpler access to electronic health records (EHR) to ensuring that patient data is collected, used and protected appropriately. It is becoming clear that there is a shift in thinking, with a more personalized approach and targeted outreach needed to enable patient-centric healthcare. This is a particular concern with recent news highlighting growing concerns about widespread data collection and retention and local laws slowly catching up with the field.

With so much discussion around connected health and big data, it was only natural that conversations at the conference turned to those of cyber security. Both the health and technology industries need to work together to develop strategies for dealing with ransomware and other cyber-attacks, to ensure strong cyber hygiene moving forward.

All in all a fascinating meeting, we’re already looking forward to carrying on these discussions and more. If you’d like to join in the conversations or for more information on how we’re approaching the use of data and technology in healthcare check out our latest whitepaper or sign up for more updates.