Day 2 at HIMSS15 did not disappoint. The day started with a strong keynote delivered by Humana CEO Bruce D. Broussard. Perhaps one of the most important points of the keynote was when Bruce showed a video of interviews. Individuals were shown the word “Health” on a screen and asked to define what that word means to them. Their answers varied from a sense of good well-being to feeling strong and youthful. Second, they were shown the word “Care” and asked to repeat the process of explaining what that word meant to them. One mother responded, “It’s what I do for my kids every day.” Another man explained that it meant putting others before himself. The “health” and “care” then became a single word we are all familiar with: healthcare. Reactions turned negative; there is a negative cloud looming over our healthcare system and how corrupt or broken some see it.
Bruce put forth the challenge, how do we change that? What role can healthcare technology take to ensure that not only patient, but also clinician, satisfaction rises across the board while overall healthcare spending decreases? Bruce stated that of the $3 trillion that healthcare spent last year, $1 trillion was completely wasted. The rise of mobile, digital and connected health can shift how healthcare is viewed by a world desperately seeking health and care.
Not long after the morning keynote, I attended a session by Rob Havasy, VP at Personal Connected Health Alliance with Joseph Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Healthcare at Partners Healthcare. The session offered a status update on key aspects of personal connected health, including engagement, social networking, connectivity to providers, provider adoption, resources, interoperability, personalized innovation, EHRs, reimbursement and regulation.
Robert kicked off discussion by stating that clinicians do not want data, they want information with associated actionable tasks. In reality, we are running out of humans and humans are insanely expensive; the system precariously relies on workflow efficiency in hospitals. Our ability to collect data far outpaces our ability to effectively analyze it. We live in a connected world. Every new webpage makes the Web bigger. Every new link makes the Web richer. Every new app makes the bus ride home better. There are numerous connected health benefits that follow:
- Engage patients and providers for productive participation
- Empower individuals to self-manage their health and wellness
- Achieve clinical workflow efficiencies
- Ensure regulatory and privacy compliance
Joseph stepped into the conversation to describe how we can create a truly connected health system. He outlined the five key aspects of personal connected health:
- Feedback loops – give direct and immediate feedback on progress
- Motivational engagement – keep patients and users engaged through motivation
- Integrated into every day life – make it a seamless experience
- Improved outcomes correlated with engagement
- Interoperability and frictionless technology are critical
Joseph said that on average patients touch their phones 150 times per day, but if you ask them to do one more thing, related to their health with their phone, they will not willingly do it. However, data about patient engagement could be tied back to clinicians to map to improved clinical outcomes.
Mobility is a real game-changer in health. With the “always on, always connected” world we live in, we have always thought healthcare was about traveling to get healthcare services. We now have the opportunity to reach the patient in the moment by leveraging mobility.
Steve Fanning, VP of Healthcare Industry Strategy for Infor was joined by Melanie Rivero, Interim Director of Enterprise Systems & Services at Legacy Health to discuss how solutions delivered via a cost-effective cloud platform can help healthcare organizations reach new levels of innovation. Steve started by outlining that the conversation has changed rapidly from “Why the cloud?” to ”Why not the cloud?”
The outline of the S.T.E.P.S. involved with moving to the cloud are:
- Reliability and response (Satisfaction)
- All about workflow (Treatment/Clinical)
- Interoperability and Data Stewardship (Electronic Information/Data)
- Always Up to Date Capabilities (Prevention & Patient Education)
- Lower Total Cost of Ownership (Savings)
Lowering the total cost of ownership is arguably the heaviest focus of the five STEPS. Steve explained that it isn’t all about dropping the costs to zero, but spending widely, wisely and getting the highest yield from your budget. There is an increasing need to do more with less and the cloud may be able to provide those capabilities. The discussion arose around leveraging cloud for disaster recovery to elevate performance, remove the need for tape, ensure compliance, and promote elasticity and security with industry-recognized certifications and audits. As for a cloud security approach, you need to know exactly who owns that information.
Melanie at Legacy Health gave three main reasons for moving to the cloud:
- Disaster recovery
- Becoming agile – staying current, moving faster
- Reduce costs
She defined the three keys to successful cloud migration:
- Establish your relationship with your vendor support “trifecta”
- Project Manager
- Hosting Operations
- Support Services
- Treat a cloud migration like an implementation project
- Stress test –push the system to its limit and learn as much as you can from it. Do multiple tests
There is a large opportunity to leverage cloud in healthcare and the benefits range from driving down overall costs, reducing capital expenditures, mitigating risk with outdated systems, and having the ability to reallocate staff to higher value-add projects within the organization.
Network Innovation for Digital Hospitals
Bob Zemke, director of healthcare solutions for Extreme Networks and Doug McDonald, manager of the wireless network team at Henry Ford Health System took a closer look at the accelerating use of technology in healthcare. The migration to electronic records is just the beginning, with things like PACS, medical devices, and EMR/EHRs. Clinical communication is moving to VoIP, video and next generation paging. Patient services are becoming more intuitive with online services, guest access Wi-Fi and personal video communications like FaceTime. Every hospital is now an ISP, whether they like it or not.
Doug highlighted how this innovation affects his team’s daily life at Henry Ford Health System. The trajectory of these devices and the demand they place on the network is tremendous. In healthcare, everything is moving to mobile and the list is of devices that connect to the network is growing exponentially. The major challenge is insuring the security of these devices, so they can support these types of real-time services. The use of real-time video has become pervasive right now in healthcare with unified communications systems.
As mentioned in my blog on day one at HIMSS15, the four walls of the hospital are breaking down. The question is, how does that network accessibility reach outside the walls of the hospital to the parking lots, the ambulances, and everything else across the widening campus of the hospital? It is a constant balancing act of all these devices on the network. If a clinician and a guest in the waiting room connect to the same access point, it becomes critical to allow life and mission-critical devices like IV infusion pumps seamless access to the network, and also connect the guest to Netflix. The running theme is that if the food is cold and the Wi-Fi is bad, the patient won’t be happy.
To make the balance work, Quality of Service (QoS) is the most critical aspect of a hospital network – a prioritization of medical devices, guest access, applications, etc. Doug explained that using Extreme Networks Purview solution, “Is like opening your eyes for the first time, truly seeing everything accessing the network.” He can now look at web traffic, operating systems, and devices accessing the network — an essential view for the life-critical environment at Henry Ford Health System. The demands from staff and patients devices on the network are only going to grow, and the security risk will grow with it. How will you prepare yourself?