The Future of Healthcare in Sync with Digital Transformation
By Ken Lawonn, SVP & CIO, Sharp Healthcare
As the continuously changing IT has come to have a progressive impact on the healthcare industry, Sharp HealthCare is on the forefront of incorporating the best technological solutions to improve healthcare. Driven by the mission to improve the health of everyone they serve, Sharp HealthCare is looking forward to explore advanced data analytics, machine learning, telemedicine, and mobile applications to optimizing healthcare to its maximum.
The Impact of Machine Learning in Predicting Medical Events
I am quite confident about machine learning’s ability to accurately predict medical events. We at Sharp HealthCare have already launched a pilot project on these lines by adopting open source technologies like Hadoop and engaging with data scientists from third party organizations. We implemented the technology to evaluate data related to cases where rapid response teams have been deployed to see if there can be any correlation drawn that would allow us to predict the events thirty to sixty minutes before the actual occurring of the event. To our happiness, the model was able to make positive identification for over eighty percent of the cases. We are now looking forward to implementing the model in the production environment. Another example on these lines is our partnership with Cerner. Using our EMR data, Cerner was successfully able to run algorithms on the data to accurately predict the onset of specific condition like Sepsis. All these positive results certainly make me think highly of the application of machine learning and advanced data analytics in healthcare.
The Risks Involved in Implementing Machine Learning
Security and privacy constitute the biggest risks in the implementation of machine learning. The institutes dealing with sensitive data need to make sure that the data whether it is on premise or in the cloud should be stored in a secure environment and insulated from any exploitation or hacking. It is important that the healthcare institutes are clear about the policies and controls that they would like to place for critical data and ensure that the same is reciprocated to the technological providers implementing the solution. What we have learned from our experiences is to add an extra layer of security for accessing data or applications involving mobile or web. Instead of just having simple logins, it is important to have a secure two-factor authentication to ensure that the right person has the access to the sensitive data.
"The newest generation of health care technologies are blurring the lines between software vendors, providers, medical devices, services, and therapeutics"
Telemedicine—the Future of Healthcare
I believe that telemedicine is one of the key components of the healthcare evolution for a number of reasons. To begin with, telemedicine has become the basis of convenience. The use of video or tele-visits can play a significant role in accessing healthcare at any time, from any location, meeting the growing healthcare demands and thus enabling better access of healthcare. Moreover, telemedicine can help in nullifying the need for follow up visits. A number of activities involving follow up visits just involve conversations or visual reviews, such as wound care that can be easily resolved through teleconferencing or video visits. Additionally, telemedicine can help in taking healthcare to remote areas that have limited accessibility, furthering the possibility of universal healthcare. The ever advancing mobile and web based applications have already come to perform a number of medical activities such as measuring pulse or blood pressure, reducing the dependence on physical visits to the health centre.
Mobile Applications for Healthcare— Points to Remember
We at Sharp HealthCare look at mobile-based applications from three perspectives. If we happen to be equipped with any technological service, our prime focus is to make the service as friendly and as mobile as possible. As workflows involving, especially, nurses are very mobile—involving recording of vital signs, basic records and more—the use of mobile-based applications might help these workflows become more efficient. We try exploring any technological solutions from the perspective of mitigating specific business problems or gaps in the services. Another perspective is to make technological investments in those specific areas which has the maximum potential. We look at mobile-based application from the sheer perspective of making patient experiences and engagements better. As we are committed to provide the Sharp Experience built on high quality and service, we look at incorporating the best technological applications in making healthcare as holistic as possible.
Collaboration between Medical Community and Technological Experts
We can’t completely depend on technology providers to provide solutions or move completely away from these providers in order to make real transformations in the healthcare. I believe the collaboration between the medical community and technological community is of prime importance. What we need is to find a way to leverage all of these technologies and people that are interested in looking at solving the problems in healthcare. We have to find ways in making healthcare organizations and providers integrate at the edge of these systems. We have to try exploring models that continue to see the technology providers as a valuable part of the health infrastructure as well as allow both the entities a certain degree of independence to innovate on the edge.
The Ultimate Goal
Through digital transformations, our goal is to help patients improve their health and wellness. One of the areas we are working on is to monitor patients suffering from chronic conditions between the points of care. We intend to leverage the Internet of things and online services to enhance the point of care and provide end-to-end treatment. Our goal with technological solutions is not just to cure illness but to ensure the complete well being of our patients.