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It’s Time To Work Together On Technology Research

Posted on September 12, 2018 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of FierceHealthcare.com and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

Bloggers like myself see a lot of data on the uptake of emerging technologies. My biggest sources are market research firms, which typically provide the 10,000-foot view of the technology landscape and broad changes the new toys might work in the healthcare industry. I also get a chance to read some great academic research, primarily papers focused on niche issues within a subset of health IT.

I’m always curious to see which new technologies and applications are rising to the top, and I’m also intrigued by developments in emerging sub-disciplines such as blockchain for patient data security.

However, I’d argue that if we’re going to take the next hill, health IT players need to balance research on long-term adoption trends with a better understanding of how clinicians actually use new technologies. Currently, we veer between the micro and macro view without looking at trends in a practical manner.

Let’s consider the following information I gathered from a recent report from market research firm Reaction Data.   According to the report, which tabulated responses from a survey of about 100 healthcare leaders, five technologies seem to top the charts as being set to work changes in healthcare.

The list is topped by telemedicine, which was cited by 29% of respondents, followed by artificial intelligence (20%), interoperability (15%), data analytics (13%) and mobile data (11%).

While this data may be useful to leaders of large organizations in making mid- to long-range plans, it doesn’t offer a lot of direction as to how clinicians will actually use the stuff. This may not be a fatal flaw, as it is important to have some idea what trends are headed, but it doesn’t do much to help with tactical planning.

On the flip side, consider a paper recently published by a researcher with Google Brain, the AI team within Google. The paper, by Google software engineer Peter Lui, describes a scheme in which providers could use AI technology to speed their patient documentation process.

Lui’s paper describes how AI might predict what a clinician will say in patient notes by digging into the content of prior notes on that patient. This would allow it to help doctors compose current notes on the fly.  While Lui seems to have found a way to make this work in principle, it’s still not clear how effective his scheme would be if put into day-to-day use.

I’m well aware that figuring out how to solve a problem is the work of vendors more than researchers. I also know that vendors may not be suited to look at the big picture in the way of outside market researcher firms can, or to conduct the kind of small studies the fuel academic research.

However, I think we’re at a moment in health IT that demands high-level research collaboration between all of the stakeholders involved.  I truly hate the word “disruptive” by this point, but I wouldn’t know how else to describe options like blockchain or AI. It’s worth breaking down a bunch of silos to make all of these exciting new pieces fit together.

Twitter Highlights from AMIA17

Posted on November 15, 2017 I Written By

Colin Hung is the co-founder of the #hcldr (healthcare leadership) tweetchat one of the most popular and active healthcare social media communities on Twitter. Colin speaks, tweets and blogs regularly about healthcare, technology, marketing and leadership. He is currently an independent marketing consultant working with leading healthIT companies. Colin is a member of #TheWalkingGallery. His Twitter handle is: @Colin_Hung.

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2017 American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA17) annual conference in Washington DC. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and came away with new appreciation for the work informaticists do. Check out this blog for key AMIA17 takeaways.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of AMIA17 was the quantity and quality of the live-tweeting. My twitter feed hadn’t been that active at a healthcare conference since HIMSS17. There were no less than 20 attendees actively tweeting throughout the conference.

Below is a selection of memorable AMIA17 tweets.

I wasn’t familiar with Carol Friedman’s work, but her lovely tribute video was riveting – almost Hidden Figures-esque. Friedman not only had to overcome being a female data scientist, she was one of the few in her field to believe Natural Language Processing could be applied to healthcare. Her acceptance speech was filled with humor and funny stories.

One of the major announcements at AMIA17 was the creation of a new open access journal – called JAMIA Open. This new publication will be AMIA’s attempt to break down one of the biggest barriers to innovation – a lack of access to research papers. It will be interesting to track the progress of JAMIA Open in the months and years to come.

A very interesting concept discussed at AMIA17 was the use of EHR audit logs as way to identify areas for improvement. This included finding opportunities where retraining might be needed and where bottlenecks exist in clinical workflows. Suddenly it’s not so bad that EHRs record every action…or maybe it is if you are a bottleneck.

Genomics is very exciting. Carolyn Petersen, an Editor at Mayo Clinic, tweeted one out an interesting use case during AMIA17 – using genomic info to prevent adverse drug reactions. Amazing.

This was an extremely interesting question posed by Dr. Danny Sands. In the OpenNotes session he attended the presenters found that physicians were more honest in their documentation notes than they were with the patients they were seeing face-to-face. This makes for an intriguing scenario when patients gain access to those notes after a visit.

One of the more prolific live-tweeters at AMIA17 was Dr Wayne Liang. I enjoyed reading his tweets from sessions that I was unable to attend. This tweet stood out for me. He expertly summarized the 5 ways HealthIT systems could be improved to allow for better data analytics.

Another active live-tweeter was Pritika Dasgupta, PhD student at University of Pittsburgh Department of Biomedical Informatics. This tweet nicely summed up how sensitive the issue of decision support tools has become. Patients and clinicians both want the latest and greatest tools that will lead to the best outcomes. From that perspective, evidenced-based decision support tools can be very effective. However, medicine is more than simply a set of if/and/or statements. It is truly a craft and there is a concern that we lose something when we try to reduce patients to a set of input parameters.

It is always a special treat to listen to a Ross D Martin live performance. At AMIA17 he performed his latest creation – a theme song for #digituRN, an initiative to transform nursing through digital innovation. You can listen to the song on YouTube.

Shout out to Pritika Dasgupta, Dr Wayne Liang, Carolyn Petersen, Rebecca Goodwin, Dr Paul Fu Jr, Dr Arlene Chung, Jenn Novesky, Scott McGrath, Dr Danny Sands, Ross Martin, Alex Fair and Michael Rothman. It was fun to live-tweet with you at AMIA17.