Inspirational HIT Insights – A HIMSS19 Experience

So, the best thing that happened to me last week at HIMSS19 was getting an opportunity to meet a speaker that I have found to be very inspirational, was Dr. John D. Halamka, International Healthcare Innovation Professor at Harvard Medical School and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess System at a Lunch and Learn hosted by Arcadia on February 13th. Dr. Halamka spoke about his travels around the world and talked about visits to remote villages of Bihar in Northern India and how, while many people in that country have little to no access to regular healthcare facilities, but have access to 4G technology and $30 for a 64mb mobile android phone. 

In a country of 1.3 billion people, there are only about 600 thousand healthcare providers! The shortfall is tremendous! He and his team treated a woman named Pooja who had to sell her cow to get uncessary medical treatment recommended by individuals posing as healthcare providers. He and his team started a Gofundme to buy her cow back which he was able to! That, my friends is a provider that has empathy! Way to go Dr. Halamka!

In cities in China where people wake up and decide they want to go to the doctor (he noted that there were no primary care providers) hospitals sometimes get 20 thousand ambulatory visits a day! Managing such a volume can challenge even the most dedicated healthcare provider. It might be difficult to understand quality metrics in that environment, at least from our point of view.

Before I left the session, I had to ask Dr. Halamka about what he feels about the Holy Grail of seamless interoperability nationwide. He pointed me to the Argonaut Project which he has great hope for and believes is a good step in moving us towards that elusive, yet hopeful goal of healthcare interoperability. Needless to say, I came away with a lot of hope and positivity after that amazing session with Dr. Halamka.

The picture of Dr. Halamka can be found on his blog, “Life as a Healthcare CIO“, which I recommend everyone to follow.


Employment in the Generation of AI

As we get closer to HIMSS19 and people turn their sights to Orlando starting February 11th, my focus will be on Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain and their potential impact on our healthcare ecosystem.

One of the impacts that I believe will possibly result in their adoption in whatever way, will be the change of jobs that we currently have and introduce additional automation. There is an interesting article published today in the BBC about this. One of the points that the article makes is that according to the consulting firm McKinsey, globally, we are set to lose as many as 800 million workers by robotic automation. It was staggering to see that number.

Are educational institutions educating our students for today or will these students of today already be “automated out” of the workforce as with many others in society. Time will tell. Read the article here for more insights.

Cancer rate decline & Oncology Care Model

A great article about the decline of cancer death rate over a 25 year period. The article talks about how the rate of dying of cancer has reduced by 27% which is a huge considering that it translates to about 2.6 million fewer cancer related deaths in the United States. Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Programs from CMS like the Oncology Care Model that I’ve recently had the opportunity to work on, have made an impact for cancer patients nationwide by providing higher quality and better coordinated oncology care at the same or lower cost to Medicare for many patients.

Check out the article.

Healthcare Pricing Transparency

On January 1st, 2019, a curious thing happened. Healthcare provider organizations started to disclose patient pricing on their websites. CMS identified for all US hospitals that they make a list of current standard hospital charges in a machine readable format. To those who know me well, know that I have been advocating this move for many years and I am glad that CMS finally focused in this for patients to see the cost of their care up front.

Check out https// for more information.

Happy New Year 2019

Here’s wishing all the readers of Healthcare Interoperability a very happy and healthy 2019. What will 2019 hold in store for us in the Healthcare IT ecosystem? How will we handle disruption? How will we leverage Artificial Intelligence in our daily lives in healthcare? As the ball drops, think about how our lives might change in 2019.

Keep smiling and thanks for reading Healthcare Interoperability.