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The Future Is Now: Disrupting Healthcare

I know it is April Fool's Day, but what I am writing about is not a joke. In fact, one might describe it as a "planetary alignment". Very rarely, do you find all of the major tech companies aligned towards a common goal, to change healthcare. Apple with its FHIR records app, Amazon and its collaboration with JP Morgan, Google breaking into the managed care space, and of course us, Dynamics Intelligence, a Microsoft partner, building a global intelligent healthcare system.

Out With The Old

Epic has the widest distribution with nearly 100,000 providers with AllScripts coming in second with only 33,000 providers. The architectures of these systems is dated and frankly these organizations are simply in the way of deploying current technology to the healthcare industry. In terms of both revenue and user base, these install bases are mere pocket change for the big technology companies.

While more and more Americans have had to pay more for premiums while getting short-changed in coverage, United Health Group reported a 9% increase in revenues and adjusted net earnings were up 25% in 2017. As an employer, the last thing that you want your employees to deal with is sickness, a direct hit to employee productivity. Growing frustration has people motivated for change.

In With the New

In the last couple of years, technology innovation has outpaced most IT manager's ability to keep up with it. The industry used to be driven by three year software upgrade cycles. Now, however, we get updates nearly everyday. These innovations have a place in healthcare through Artificial Intelligence (AI), IoT, Augmented Reality (AR), and Voice just to name a few. Applying these technologies to healthcare opens a broad spectrum of new treatment possibilities, brings new treatments to market faster, and increases the likelihood of a positive patient outcome.

Patients are tired of being controlled by the boogeymen, known as insurance companies, and are seeking access to and control of their own records. When it comes to data ownership, the big tech companies are the experts, hands down.

Primary Drivers of Change

A primary driver of change from an IT perspective is the lack of inter-operability between systems and devices. For decades now, the IT industry has preferred open-source as opposed to proprietary technologies. Open-source technologies offer flexibility. And, according to Jenna's Law: Flexible architectures lead to reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Despite having standards like HL7, these systems have great difficulty communicating with one another. The HL7 standards barely conform to other IT industry standards and offer no significant improvement over existing IT standards. HL7 makes development more difficult than it needs to be making it a barrier to any real progress. HL7's FHIR is favorable to IT companies because it uses XML and JSON. JSON has replaced the dominance XML once held in recent years.

Another driver is reliance upon on-premise systems versus the cloud. Cloud systems have proven to be more secure and more reliable than on-premise systems. Microsoft offers a 99.999% uptime with Azure Cosmos DB, for example. Imagine how many people would die as a result of a WannaCry type virus striking a hospital?

Cloud systems offer a breadth of additional application functionality like the ability to translate text into any language in real-time or to convert voice into text. Voice capability allows us to capture the patient's testimony and include it as part of the patient records.

As I have noted before, the data in these existing healthcare systems is mostly garbage. Anyone attempting to think that AI can add any meaningful improvement to care by attaching to the existing systems is mistaken. In computer science 101, we learned the rule of Garbage In/Garbage Out, meaning that if the input data to an application is bad, the output will be equally as bad. To be effective, AI is dependent on good data. The only reliable data currently is data that comes from laboratory tests, testing equipment, IoT, and other machines. Even the physician's diagnosis is suspect as the wrong diagnosis is rarely ever recorded into a patient's medical record due to liability reasons.

The great thing about the current movement is that all of the major tech companies seem to know there place and have devised different strategies to force change, Apple (devices), Amazon (retail), and Dynamics Intelligence (data). Three years from now, people won't even remember the old way of doing things.

Jenna Bourgeois, is CEO of Dynamics Intelligence Inc, a global healthcare technology company designing an intelligent healthcare system, HEALTHieR Cloud which promises to integrate research with clinical information systems. Dynamics Intelligence's system is designed to connect to any existing healthcare system or device. For more information visit https://www.dynamicsintelligence.us/healthr-cloud

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