I wanted to use this occasion to get us thinking along the lines of what skills are needed in the marketplace today to help us make the most of opportunities that are present today.
As we all know, there are several efforts underway to improve and optimize the healthcare, energy and other sectors in the US and other countries. These efforts will result in what we call Smarter Healthcare, Smarter Electric Grids and so on. I believe that we as IT professionals need to understand how we can participate in this effort.
I recently read the following articles on dW : Evolution of the healthcare industry to a standards based environment where I found several helpful examples where technology can help with Smarter Heathcare:
Healthcare insurance service providers, such as Blue Cross & Blue Shield or Medicare, routinely interact with a variety of entities (hospitals, medical clinics, billing agencies, and so on) to determine what patient services have been provided and who needs to be paid. This diverse set of contacts can result in a potential interoperability nightmare unless common standards can be applied to the process.
Here an IT professional needs to learn the various standards in this industry. There is HIPAA that includes broad set of requirements including areas of security, transaction semantics, and others & HL7 that sets the language, structure and data types required for seamless integration from one system to another.
For example, WebSphere Business Integration Message Broker has a HL7 message adapter that can perform data transformation from HL7 to the desired end point format and vice-versa.
Similarly, in one example of healthcare-related security, IBM has worked on the creation of a digital signature object that identifies a set of related medical images which, in aggregate, form a patient medical record document. A different secure digital signature is used each time a different system transfers responsibility for the image set to another party, essentially signing or authorizing the records. The receiver can view the digital signature as assurance the records are complete, or as a means for determining records that are incomplete or corrupt.
In this example, Tivoli Identity Manager would manage all identities within the system to ensure that Bob is really the same Bob in all systems that have a security mechanism; Tivoli Access Manager would use this information to authenticate that someone logging in as Bob really is Bob; Tivoli Privacy Manager could ensure that if Bob sends some data to Susan, then, based on the rules in Tivoli Privacy Manager, will determine whether Susan can pass the data on to a third party.
This type of knowledge I believe is critical for IT professionals to be marketable for the opportunities that are presenting themselves today to make a Smarter Planet.
Thoughts, comments? You can also learn more about Smarter Healthcare by joining our group on this topic on mydW at https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/groups/service/html/communityview?communityUuid=408f1a11-852c-4713-99d0-676677ce9826