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Health IT Execs Talk AI at HIMSS18

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What if more and better data, equated to more time with patients? As Kyu Rhee, MD, IBM Watson Health’s chief health officer, and a panel of health IT leaders discussed at HIMSS18, this is increasingly the new reality—and augmented intelligence (AI) is helping make it possible.

In collaboration with the American Medical Association (AMA), attendees of IBM Watson Health’s annual HIMSS dinner reception heard how some of the nation’s top health systems, associations and solutions providers are helping enable the industry shift “From Data Silos to Actionable Intelligence.”

James Madara, MD; CEO, AMA

Joined by James L. Madara, MD, chief executive officer of the AMA, Cris Ross, chief information officer of Mayo Clinic, and Sue Schade, principal of StarBridge Advisors, the panel explored the current hurdles to eradicating data silos in healthcare and delved into how technologies such as AI, data analytics and common data models are or will help address this complex issue in healthcare.

One of the primary challenges to improving data sharing? Integrity. And in today’s ever-changing environment, improving the level of accountability in data exchange—whether among patients or provider systems—is precisely where physicians can play a key role. “The physician has a role as a trust broker, and technology has a role to break down silos, but it has to be done with clinicians and care teams. It takes time, humility and consideration of workflow,” said Dr. Rhee.

Another critical area that the panel covered was physician burnout. From Dr. Madara’s perspective: “Physician burnout is at 50 percent… It’s the largest unrecognized public health issue in the country,” said Dr. Madara. And being that physicians spend an average of two hours on administrative work for every hour with patients.

“Healthcare technology needs to be meaningful, actionable, validated and evidence based” to be truly valuable, said Dr. Madara, equating how the healthcare industry approaches technology development would “be equivalent to GM creating cars without any care about the drivers.”

Kyu Rhee, MD; Chief Health Officer, IBM Watson Health

He also spoke about the AMA’s Integrated Health Model Initiative (IHMI), a collaborative effort across healthcare and technology stakeholders. IHMI supports a continuous learning environment to enable interoperable technology solutions and care models, which Dr. Madara noted will help provide meaning and context, not just data, to depict a comprehensive picture of a patient’s journey from wellness to illness to treatment and beyond.

Cris Ross agreed with Dr. Madara’s assessment of the need to produce better technology if we hope to make a meaningful difference in both patient care and provider satisfaction.

“If we don’t produce better EHRs and similar kinds of systems, then the rest of it is all for naught,” noted Ross, who also spoke about the increasing role that providers must play in helping patients be responsible data stewards. “We have a moral duty and responsibility to help patients protect their data and help them to make informed choices about how they store their data,” he said.

In addition, Ross spoke about the over 130 significant AI projects that Mayo Clinic currently has underway, including the work that Mayo is doing with IBM Watson Health to address clinical trial matching challenges, utilizing AI for “faster, better matching of patient data that our oncologists otherwise would not have insights to.”

One common thread that ran deep during the discussion was that innovation and improvement is needed in healthcare now, but that it cannot be accomplished with technology alone. “It needs to be man and woman plus machine to deliver truly actionable insights,” said Dr. Rhee, who reiterated just how critical it is that the industry moves from systems of record to systems of insight.

But if the industry can get it right and start working together, the rewards will be worth it. As Dr. Madara noted, “If we can just get our act together and break down these boundaries, we can have advances in medicine for those who need it most.”

Be sure to follow @IBMWatsonHealth for the latest onsite at HIMSS18 and more information on collaboration in action with Mayo Clinic, the AMA and more.


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