Healthcare and IT have to work together, says Clive Gold, EMC's Healthcare Director
Healthcare and IT have to work together, says Clive Gold, EMC's Healthcare Director
The Internet of Things (IoT) has long been in demand in the consumer world. From marathon runners' electronic tags to credit cards, IoT exists everywhere in our lives. More recently, IoT is beginning to gain fast traction in the highly regulated healthcare sector. In a recent news article published by Forbes on April 23, it is estimated that there will be a $117 billion market for Internet of Things in Healthcare by 2020. We speak with EMC's Healthcare Director Clive Gold about the opportunities and challenges involved in driving an IoT landscape in the Asian healthcare sector, as well as the urgent need for healthcare professionals to embrace technologies in order to break down silos and improve healthcare delivery outcomes.
Question: Clive, what is the value of IoT in the Asian healthcare sector?
Clive: The Asian healthcare sector faces many unique challenges, from a wide population density variation, to some of the most disaster-prone environments being intensified by the effects of climate change, not to mention the vast social, economic and political diversity of the region. The value of the IoT in this environment is that it can dramatically change the cost, effectiveness and experience of delivering healthcare by enabling capabilities that are not possible with the current healthcare models.
These are some examples of the impacts that the IoT could have in these situations:
Environmental monitoring: The most effective form of healthcare is prevention. Low-cost and connected sensors could be used to monitor everything from air quality to seismic activity, and this data can be used to alert citizens and caregivers when adverse conditions are expected. For example, an exercise done with Kaiser Permanente healthcare in the USA showed a correlation between asthma attacks and ozone levels in the air. This led to the creation of a simple air quality monitoring tool which will text people at risk to warn them when ozone levels are high.
Extending the reach of care-givers: The cost of providing care in rural areas is a universal issue. High costs are involved in getting highly qualified people to attend to these regions. Today, low-cost and connected medical devices allow data to be transmitted to a central location, where the skills of a qualified clinician can be leveraged on across a wide area. For example, Apollo Hospitals in India is trailing a device that allows nurses in rural clinics to collect data ranging from ECGs to temperatures, and have this data analysed by an analytics system as well as qualified clinicians at their major hospitals.
Improving the utilisation: In larger healthcare institutions, the utilisation of equipment can vary tremendously as does the time nursing staff spend locating required resources. IoT enables every piece of equipment to be "on-line", enabling efficient scheduling and improving utilisation. A medium-sized hospital in the region did a study that showed that the equivalent of one fulltime nurse's time was spent each day locating IV stands. The IoT delivers a transformative capability by connecting everyone and everything, driving higher utilization of expensive resources, extending the reach of healthcare professionals and enabling new care protocols.
Question: The Internet of Things phenomenon will boost a new set of data security and storage challenges. In the healthcare sector, data protection and storage could mean life and death. What are the key challenges you can foresee and how can hospitals prepare for them adequately so that patient data is secured?
Clive: Today, the technical capabilities to keep data protected and secure, are far more advanced than healthcare professionals may perceive. Technologies that companies like EMC have been bringing to market to ensure that data is always made available, to the right people at the right time, are extremely mature and are the cornerstone to most other industries.
The first thing the healthcare industry needs to do is build IT infrastructures, which are common practice in other industries. In general, hospitals have implemented systems on an application-by-application basis, resulting in highly stove-piped IT infrastructures today. These environments tend to be inefficient, difficult to maintain and unreliable. This is similar to the situations of other industries - such as banking - about 10 years ago. Since that time, they have transformed to running IT as a service, based on a highly automated, efficient, leveraged infrastructure. These organizations now enjoy the agility of being able to change things in hours, systems that never have to be taken down (not even for maintenance), and a cost structure that is world's best practice.
Secondly, the healthcare industry needs to put the patient and their data at the center of their focus. Today, healthcare systems are geared towards the application - the PAS or PACS or EMR system - which results in security and protection being siloed, leaving vulnerabilities and increasing risk. Putting patient data as the central focus point will transform the discussion, enable problems to be resolved once and for all, enable more effective mitigation of risks. Creating "data-lakes" provide new capabilities to monitor and understand how data is being used and to detect attacks. It also supports the journey towards evidence-based medicine, personalized medicine, and the improvement of population health.
Question: Why is it critical for the ultimate end users (hospital workers, clinicians, nurses) to embrace an IoT approach to healthcare?
Clive: Healthcare workers are altruistic and are always frustrated by anything that gets in the way of them delivering care. No nurse would rather do paperwork than tend to a patient. The IoT can alleviate almost everything that distracts from primary care giving. In the past, IT was viewed as ‘a necessary evil', due to the extra burden it places on care givers. As a contrast, imagine a nurse making a quick note on a bed chart, compared to finding a terminal, logging into a system and looking up the patient record to slowly type in a note, save and then logging out. However in an IoT world as the nurse walks up to the bed, the patient's record is automatically displayed on the nurses device due to the RFID sensor, the vitals are right there, the doctors instructions displayed and noted are translated from the nurses dictated note. The most critical justification for the IoT to transform the way healthcare is delivered is that without this change, healthcare becomes unaffordable as we age and chronic diseases increase. The motivation for the IoT is care. IoT removes obstacles, drives care-time up, extends reach and improves patient safety.
Question: How can the silos between technology and operations be bridged to ensure successful integration?
Clive: Healthcare and IT have to work together! Healthcare providers and funders have to accept the major impact that IT is going to make on keeping people well and healing them faster. IT needs to have a "seat at the table", be part of the leadership that defines how healthcare will be delivered and then address the problems as they arise. At the same time, IT has to come to the table prepared to deliver. Their role is to bring the means through which IT can help transform the delivery of healthcare, working in conjunction with the care providers, augmenting them, making them more efficient, and allowing them to deliver better care and better experiences to their patients.
Find out more about how EMC is transforming the global healthcare sector, one solution at a time. Visit www.emc.com.
On a healthcare system level, digitization promises to help tear down the walls between different care silos. In many countries, this is still quite a challenge, both for political and technical reasons. HIMSS Insights eBook issue 7.4 will highlight healthcare systems that take connected care seriously and discuss the lessons to be learned from these leaders of change. We will also find out which technical standards are experiencing a tail wind, and how that is helping healthcare digitization to keep its promises. Download your copy of the eBook for free today to access the most insightful content and news: https://pages.healthcareitnews.com/HIMSSInsights4.html
Machine learning and artificial intelligence will massively influence the way healthcare is executed in the years to come. This is true for diagnostics, for medical therapy, and for population health management. This issue of Insights will address numerous tough and exciting questions around regulation, the algorithm black box, and what does it all mean for care delivery?
Healthcare digitization is still often perceived as being an endeavour on the level of the individual healthcare system or nation state. While there is some truth in that, it is equally obvious that a global digital health market is evolving, with vast opportunities for IT companies, healthcare providers, med-tech, pharma giants and even charities who are courageous enough to think big. In this edition of the HIMSS Insights eBook, we give these global eHealth champions a platform. Download your copy of the eBook for free today to access the most insightful content and news.
Paper health information presents significant challenges to large hospital environments. Due to the clinical risks that having a predominantly paper health record causes, Mater decided to take action to address the challenges of paper health records, which also resulted in significant increases in efficiency and cost reduction, all pre-dating the commencement of an EMR implementation. HIMSS Asia Pacific speaks with Sallyanne Wissmann, Director Information Management, Mater Health Services, Brisbane, ahead of her presentation at HIMSS AsiaPac18.