Opportunities and Risks as Information and Connectivity Evolves
Technology in healthcare is advancing at breakneck speed. Today, healthcare accounts for 30% of the world’s data production with the volume increasing daily.
Throughout the entire healthcare spectrum, payors and providers have made great investments spending nearly $9 billion in cloud solutions in 2017 and projected to double that spend by 2021. Productivity gains of 15-20% should be realized through the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven by cloud providers as projected by both healthcare and life-sciences groups.
Consumers now also expect real-time and responsive technology, adopting a bring your own data mentality. Electronic medical record (EMR) providers are responding with expanded access and portability. By 2020, as much as 25% of data used in medical care will be collected and shared with healthcare systems by the patients themselves. This all sounds amazing, but it also carries significant risk. Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations have doubled and organizations were often underprepared to respond to those attacks and protect patient and organization data.
When we look at the greatest opportunities and risks in healthcare moving forward, many refer to the four pillars of technology transformation including: Health IT; Precision Medicine; Connected Health and Security.
Growth in optimized clinical applications as well as private, public and hybrid cloud will be experienced by modern infrastructures supporting new workloads, and improved performance delivering cost-efficiency to existing Health IT systems. Technology will continue to automate manual tasks and reduce bottlenecks to accelerate the speed of innovation. We will also see IT deliver differentiated business models and capabilities to patients and internal users. This will be achieved through modern data centers, with automated service delivery and transformed IT operations utilizing multi-cloud integration.
Rapid transformation is already underway in Precision Medicine with big data and analytics, machine learning and clinical genomics and HPC. A major transformation in precision medicine will be the continued acceleration of genome sequencing along with reduced costs. From GATK 3.8 to GATK 4.0 there was a 26 hour, or 72% reduction in genome processing time. And from 2001 to 2017 there was a reduction in per genome sequencing cost from $100M to $1,121. As population genomics grow on a worldwide scale, additional time and cost efficiencies will follow supported by technology advances.
In addition, healthcare organizations will expand capabilities to analyze data that may exist across disparate systems. With that power, big data analytics across EMRs, data warehouses, research, case studies and patient data will enable healthcare organizations to seize insight on massive volumes of data that already exist.
TeleHealth, patient engagement, innovative devices and healthcare IoT make up the connected health pillar of transformation. The innovation that we are witnessing today will only accelerate with the adoption of the 5G bandwidth. Patients are now acting like consumers because their expectations of service through technology have changed. This change has accelerated the development of technologies to better provide new paths for care such as telehealth, teleconsultations, patient portals, etc.
Innovative devices and displays will also put organizational success within the care provider hands through technology designed specifically for the way they work. IoT and digital workplace solutions will deliver seamless user experiences without sacrificing management and security. Solutions will integrate IoT, identity, application and enterprise mobility to deliver anytime, anywhere access to all apps and services across all devices. And most importantly, technology will empower patient engagement through the development of numerous life enhancing and potentially lifesaving apps, such as those that remind people to take their medication, teach them best practices for first aid and even possible lifesaving actions.
Security is the greatest risk in the healthcare technology evolution. How to protect data, detect threats and identify and control access is critical to managing risk. The consequences of data breaches in healthcare go beyond identity theft – compromised data can put a patient at risk, incur costly fines, harm a healthcare provider’s reputation, and hinder organizational efficiency.
The number of applications and devices being utilized on a daily basis is growing. On average, the typical worker will utilize three or more different devices to access company information, with 75% saying they’ve experienced attacks on one of their devices within the last year.
A critical place for additional focus is also the cloud. Users and applications have adapted to the cloud, security must too. With 49% of the workforce now mobile and 82% admitting they don’t use a VPN, security controls must shift to the cloud.
We must also now address IOS devices for security protection. Once assumed always safe, IOS devices are now targeted and vulnerable to attacks just like other devices. Ensuring the latest Apple phone is given the same attention as Android, Windows and other SaaS applications in your technology security plan will address some of the remaining 1% of threats that find a vulnerability.
Identity management is another important area to address. Who is the user and do you want to provide them access? A best practice is a single point of identity and access management for all end points across the network –wireless and wired. Another way to look at this is the popular notion of personas. A persona is an individual representation of a group of users, their identity, behavior and job description of daily tasks. It’s a tool that allows organizations to place particular users into groups and allow them access to tools.
Healthcare organizations need to create resilience by building security into their modern infrastructure and simplifying the user environment. To best manage risk, healthcare organizations must unify security and risk management practices; only context will enable better business outcomes. With this new approach, security teams can move from being reactive to being advocates of what’s possible.
As healthcare organizations navigate their technology evolution, we see great opportunities in the future throughout all four pillars of transformation. For those organizations that commit to a modernized infrastructure, automate their service delivery and management, this will transform IT operations to deliver data driven decisions, and the benefits will quickly follow. Improved care flow and efficiencies, increased patient engagement and positive business outcomes will far outweigh the technology investments implemented to ensure success in the future.
Healthcare Informatics Analyst estimated revenues
Intel® Health & Life Sciences