Health IT experts this week shared ideas on addressing clinician burnout, establishing trust when sharing data and figuring out what the next generation of electronic health record systems will look like during this week's ViVE conference in Miami Beach, Florida.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives and HLTH, the organization behind the HLTH conference that launched in 2018, launched ViVe this year, with plans to make it an annual event. The conference took place just one week before the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society's trade show, slated for March 14-18.
Here are five themes Modern Healthcare saw on display at ViVe.
1. Healthcare is hackers' No. 1 target. Nearly 60% of ransomware attacks in the U.S. last year were in the healthcare sector, according to a study by the Health and Human Services Department and cited by Lauren Boas Hayes, senior advisor for technology and innovation at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency during a session on cybersecurity Tuesday.
She urged healthcare executives to implement multi-factor authentication, use complex passwords that aren't reused, and not to use end-of-life software that's no longer supported by manufacturers.
"Between the rise of more internet-connected devices and vulnerable medical electronics in healthcare, and the increase in more remote operations, we are continuing to increase the risks to healthcare organizations," she said. "We need to ensure we're making the commensurate investments in cybersecurity."
2. Building on EHRs. Ninety-five percent of all healthcare organizations—including health systems and physician practices, large and small—have implemented electronic health record systems, said Micky Tripathi, national coordinator for health IT at HHS, during a session on federal health IT efforts Monday. That's created an "electronic foundation" for the healthcare system, he said.
"We are actually now at the beginning of being digitally native," Tripathi said. New applications can be built on electronic data to improve workflow for providers and care for patients.
That echoes a vision that Dr. David Feinberg, CEO at Cerner, one of the largest developers of EHRs, shared during a session Monday.
"It's amazing that we digitized this stuff, but … we can add so much to it," Feinberg said. He said Cerner's role is to bring in and normalize data, which other developers can build on top of. Feinberg added that he told Oracle, a company expected to acquire Cerner, that his goal is to serve Cerner's current customers by developing useful software tools to grow the business, not necessarily by adding market share.
3. Easing provider burden with AI. EHRs have long been cited as a contributor to clinician burnout. That could become even more cumbersome in the coming years, as patient records are expected to corral data from visits with different providers in a longitudinal patient record and incorporate patient-generated health data.
Doctors, who are already overwhelmed by information, want data that's "actionable," said Dr. Vishwanath Anantraman, chief technology officer at Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, at a panel discussion on data Tuesday. He suggested developers use artificial intelligence to ease clinician workflows, such as by applying AI to curate health data or query the EHR with AI chatbots.
Google on Tuesday also unveiled a new feature for its EHR search tool Care Studio, which the company said will make it easier to understand a patient's medical history. The feature uses AI to parse through patient records and summarize data about specific conditions, with previous labs, medications and notes from specialists, to improve upon existing problem lists.
"Unfortunately, the problem list that's often sitting in the EHR was usually manually entered at some point, it's outdated, it's only a fractional view of the patient—it's not across systems—[and] they tend to be very noisy," Paul Muret, vice president and general manager of Google Health's Care Studio team, told Modern Healthcare.
4. Tapping into technology companies for digital expertise. Hospital executives said they've had success partnering with tech companies to develop digital health efforts that they might not have the expertise to build in-house on their own. But there are best practices to follow, like ensuring partners are targeting the same outcomes and closely tracking those metrics.
Hospital executives shouldn't be afraid to establish what they need from a partnership when purchasing or contracting with a vendor, said Hema Purohit, Microsoft's chief architect and chief technology officer for the healthcare and public sector in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, during a panel discussion on data Tuesday.
"You are in control—the vendor is not in control," Purohit said. "Don't be afraid to push back, and don't just go and pick the first thing that you see."
5. Establishing trust in a data-sharing ecosystem. As healthcare entities share more data with patients, one another and tech partners, ensuring trust at each of those levels is critical.
The Carin Alliance, an interoperability collaborative formed by former government officials, unveiled a pilot to establish a process for patients to verify identity and request access to data from multiple organizations. Graphite Health, a company launched last year by three health systems, on Wednesday shared their vision to be a trusted marketplace of digital health tools.
That includes garnering trust from patients, who's data is often fueling these efforts.
It's one of the reasons Truveta, a company launched last year that aggregates de-identified patient data from 20 health systems for research, is governed and majority-owned by health systems, said Terry Myerson, Truveta's CEO during a session Tuesday. "The first hurdle of unlocking the power of data is building trust," he said. "Patients trust their doctors."