Technology is changing how healthcare and life sciences organizations operate.  With more information and analytics to find the “meaning” from the data resource, these organizations are making breakthroughs in therapies, discoveries, and patient outcomes.  This blog details the key points from a recent podcast with Richard Kramer, Chief Strategist Healthcare and Life Sciences at Informatica.  The podcast detailed best practices and strategies for building a data layer in these vertical industries.

First and foremost, organizations are making substantial investments in managing data as an asset. Executives are focused on ensuring that the business has trustworthy fit-for-purpose data, and employees can make it useful. In addition, master data management and governance are necessary to reduce data friction. The idea of master data governance is all about getting accurate and useful data in place so that it can be used across the enterprise.

Some examples provide excellent illustrations of these goals.  Anthem is investing in an enterprise data catalog. They understand it is very difficult to manage data as an asset if they don’t know where it is, where it’s going, or what happens in between. Transparency and trust are mandatory.   Eli Lilly is investing in a data marketplace, a central place for data assets to be discoverable and consumable across a large, complex enterprise.

The benefits of these initiatives are substantial. The goal is to use data to break down silos.  Data becomes the common “language” in a global company, and it has tremendous value by providing consistency and coordination across the business.  Data is also essential to smoothing the processes between different entities, like providers and insurance carriers. With trustworthy, fit-for-purpose data, federated business processes work more effectively.  The data platform is an essential resource for every healthcare and life sciences organization. It will provide the foundation for modern operations that run on facts, not guesswork.

Data Engineering

Real World Evidence (RWE) refers to the analysis of Real World Data (RWD), which is used by life sciences companies and healthcare organizations to securely obtain, store, analyze, and gain insights about the functioning of a drug or medical invention. RWE helps medical professionals and other stakeholders demonstrate the value of a particular drug’s effectiveness in treating medical conditions in a real-world setting.

Today, life sciences companies have a huge opportunity to unlock the potential of RWD and improve patient outcomes.

Why the buzz around RWE?

For some time now, the use of mobile devices, computers, and different mobile equipment to collect and store massive amounts of health data has been accelerating. This data has the potential to allow life sciences companies to conduct clinical trials more effectively.

Moreover, the introduction of more sophisticated and modern analytical capabilities has paved the way for advanced analysis of the data acquired and its application in medical product development and approval.

The ever-changing healthcare sector

Even today, healthcare payors and governments continue to face enormous data management and storage capacity challenges. Drug prices are increasing, owing to development costs and an increase in demand for personalized treatments, which is placing unimaginable pressure on life sciences companies.

These companies are focusing on the development of integrated solutions and therefore are moving “beyond the pill” and becoming solution providers. With a renewed focus on offering value to various stakeholders, these companies are creating new commercial models. RWE helps them respond to these trends successfully.

Harnessing the power of cloud

With AWS cloud, it is now easier for pharma companies to derive huge datasets from a vast pool of sources. Companies are equipped with the organizational intelligence to understand the needs of stakeholders and mitigate the challenges of large-scale data storage, data analytics, and sharing.

The best way to maximize the utility of RWE is to successfully integrate disparate data types. Life sciences companies must store, search, analyze, and normalize data of different types and sizes coming from different sources, including medical devices, wearables, genomics reports, data claims, clinic trials, and electronic medical records.

One common solution for these disparate data types is a data lake, which allows organizations to store data in a centralized repository — both in its original form and in a searchable format. One benefit of the AWS data lake is that data can be stored as-is; there is no need to transform it into a predefined schema. Unlike with a data warehouse, companies do not need to structure the data first. They can use the data for tagging, searching, and analysis without worrying about its original format.

When it comes to pharma companies, the artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities of AWS help process data for real-world evidence, such as:

Quick access to all types of data like genomics, clinic trials, and claimsThe integration of new RWE data to existing data in the data lake

Advanced RWE analytics use predictive and probabilistic causal models, unsupervised algorithms, and machine learning to extract deeper insights from these data sets. These help in building large data sets with significant information on thousands of patient variables.

With the on-premise data repositories getting replaced by cloud-based data lakes, pharma companies now have access to a scalable platform that provides cutting-edge analytics. These companies will be at the forefront of technological innovation, as RWE becomes the big picture in the world of pharma in the years to come.

Author Bio

TCS

Ph: +91 9818804103
E-mail: a.goel1@tcs.com

Dr. Ashish Goel is a molecular oncologist from Johns Hopkins University, with more than 23 years of experience across different facets of the pharmaceutical industry ranging from new drug discovery to decision support analytics. He has held leadership positions in Pharma/pharma-centric organizations assisting in key decisions ranging from designing NCE like Lipaglyn (Zydus) to Revenue Forecasting and lately Real-world Evidence and HEOR (IQVIA and TCS). He currently leads the Value Demonstration team in TCS, focusing on business transformation via evidence generation management and automation. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed international journals; owns patents and has been invited speaker to conferences and thought leadership forums/interviews.

To learn more, visit us here.

Cloud Computing

There are many different healthcare interoperability and industry clouds on the market. Which one should you choose? Some offer information management pipelines, while others focus on digital imaging communications in medicine (DICOM). You might want to start by considering your goals and which cloud will help you meet them.

Interoperability cloud offerings

Microsoft Azure Healthcare API

Azure Healthcare APIs provide a PaaS platform where customers can ingest and manage their PHI data. Customers who work with health data can use these Azure APIs to connect disparate sets of PHI for machine learning, analytics, and AI.

Key features include:

Structured data such as medical records from HL7 or C-CDA, generated by health devices, available through apps like HealthKit and Google Fit, or accessible on different databases, can be ingested and translated for the FHIR.Unstructured data can be mapped and annotated to FHIR, which is viewable alongside other structured clinical information.DICOM data can be ingested through an API gateway, and the technology will extract relevant metadata from images and map it to patient records.Devices generating biometric data can provide essential insights on health trends to care teams through FHIR integration.

Amazon Healthlake

Amazon released its HealthLake service, which means users no longer have to worry about obtaining, provisioning, and managing the resources needed for infrastructure. Users will only need to create a new datastore on the AWS Console and configure it according to their encryption method preference (i.e., AWS-managed key or Bring Your Key).

Once the datastore is available, users can directly create, read, update, delete, and query their data. Furthermore, since Amazon HealthLake exposes a REST Application Programming Interface (API), users can integrate their application through several SDKs.

If you are working with a format that is not FHIR, the company has included several connectors which allow easy conversion from HL7v2, CCDA, and flat file data to FHIR.

Google Healthcare Data Engine

Healthcare Data Engine contains the Google Cloud Healthcare API, tailored to provide longitudinal clinical insights in FHIR. It can map more than 90 percent of HL7 v2 messages – medications and patient updates – to FHIR across leading EHRs.

The goal is to enable a cloud environment for advanced analytics and AI applications to help healthcare, and life sciences organizations harmonize data from EHRs, claims data, and clinical trials.

Cloverleaf FHIR Server

Infor has traditionally been at the forefront of seeking to help solve interoperability challenges within a healthcare organization. The Infor Cloverleaf suite has released a next-generation solution.

Infor FHIR Server provides a way for healthcare organizations to use modern technologies to digitize their operations by connecting data from both legacy and modern solutions into a single system. Implementations also support local requirements of the HL7 FHIR standard, making data available through secure web APIs for further analysis.

The FHIR server is part of a more overarching data interoperability platform that helps organizations with clinical data exchange. It has prebuilt connectors for easy integration into modern and legacy systems and continuous or batch processes.

Healthcare industry clouds

Google 

Is it enough to have big clients like the Mayo Clinic and CommonSpirit, among others, on board? Is Google’s traction in the market significant enough? Fitbit’s acquisition might provide another benefit since it will be integrated into Google’s virtual care and remote patient monitoring services. 

The care studio platform, which allows for a single centralized view of a patient from diverse EMR systems, has also been beneficial. I am a fan of the Google search capability for clinicians.  

Microsoft 

With the recent buy of Nuance, Microsoft’s health cloud is placing a greater emphasis on voice solutions. The primary product is DAX integration with Microsoft Teams for virtual care. Microsoft has a superior stickiness in the 365 ecosystems because most healthcare institutions already use 365.

Microsoft has a significant advantage since it’s one of the easier products to get up and running quickly. I believe that Microsoft will do well in this market.

Workday

The healthcare ERP cloud vendor has a particular emphasis on employee experience, given the fact that health institutions around the world are facing shortages in all areas. Workday ERP adoption has been widespread among healthcare organizations, partly because supply chain is at the forefront of cost savings, and companies want to get to the bottom line of patient care.

Oracle

The recent acquisition of Cerner by Oracle has caused a stir in the industry, with many wondering if it will be a game-changer or just another failed attempt at integration. Only time will tell. The company still has a long way to go before achieving its bold vision of creating a master patient database, but I applaud the effort nonetheless.

Key themes for decision makers

Who is your preferred partner? CIOs will utilize their partners to select their cloud interoperability platform. If you’re already a heavy user of Azure and 365, stick with Microsoft. The same applies to the other providers.Pick a partner and go all in. This is not a time to pilot since these solutions solve the same problem and provide a similar playbook on interoperability.Invest in upskilling engineers emphasizing native cloud development while mastering cloud-to-cloud integration. Avoid any potential for vendor lock-in.If you solicit big four consulting firms for help with your assessment, be mindful that they may give you biased advice because of their existing partnership and joint ventures with healthcare cloud providers.Cloud Management, Healthcare Industry

There are many different healthcare interoperability and industry clouds on the market. Which one should you choose? Some offer information management pipelines, while others focus on digital imaging communications in medicine (DICOM). You might want to start by considering your goals and which cloud will help you meet them.

Interoperability cloud offerings

Microsoft Azure Healthcare API

Azure Healthcare APIs provide a PaaS platform where customers can ingest and manage their PHI data. Customers who work with health data can use these Azure APIs to connect disparate sets of PHI for machine learning, analytics, and AI.

Key features include:

Structured data such as medical records from HL7 or C-CDA, generated by health devices, available through apps like HealthKit and Google Fit, or accessible on different databases, can be ingested and translated for the FHIR.Unstructured data can be mapped and annotated to FHIR, which is viewable alongside other structured clinical information.DICOM data can be ingested through an API gateway, and the technology will extract relevant metadata from images and map it to patient records.Devices generating biometric data can provide essential insights on health trends to care teams through FHIR integration.

Amazon Healthlake

Amazon released its HealthLake service, which means users no longer have to worry about obtaining, provisioning, and managing the resources needed for infrastructure. Users will only need to create a new datastore on the AWS Console and configure it according to their encryption method preference (i.e., AWS-managed key or Bring Your Key).

Once the datastore is available, users can directly create, read, update, delete, and query their data. Furthermore, since Amazon HealthLake exposes a REST Application Programming Interface (API), users can integrate their application through several SDKs.

If you are working with a format that is not FHIR, the company has included several connectors which allow easy conversion from HL7v2, CCDA, and flat file data to FHIR.

Google Healthcare Data Engine

Healthcare Data Engine contains the Google Cloud Healthcare API, tailored to provide longitudinal clinical insights in FHIR. It can map more than 90 percent of HL7 v2 messages – medications and patient updates – to FHIR across leading EHRs.

The goal is to enable a cloud environment for advanced analytics and AI applications to help healthcare, and life sciences organizations harmonize data from EHRs, claims data, and clinical trials.

Cloverleaf FHIR Server

Infor has traditionally been at the forefront of seeking to help solve interoperability challenges within a healthcare organization. The Infor Cloverleaf suite has released a next-generation solution.

Infor FHIR Server provides a way for healthcare organizations to use modern technologies to digitize their operations by connecting data from both legacy and modern solutions into a single system. Implementations also support local requirements of the HL7 FHIR standard, making data available through secure web APIs for further analysis.

The FHIR server is part of a more overarching data interoperability platform that helps organizations with clinical data exchange. It has prebuilt connectors for easy integration into modern and legacy systems and continuous or batch processes.

Healthcare industry clouds

Google 

Is it enough to have big clients like the Mayo Clinic and CommonSpirit, among others, on board? Is Google’s traction in the market significant enough? Fitbit’s acquisition might provide another benefit since it will be integrated into Google’s virtual care and remote patient monitoring services. 

The care studio platform, which allows for a single centralized view of a patient from diverse EMR systems, has also been beneficial. I am a fan of the Google search capability for clinicians.  

Microsoft 

With the recent buy of Nuance, Microsoft’s health cloud is placing a greater emphasis on voice solutions. The primary product is DAX integration with Microsoft Teams for virtual care. Microsoft has a superior stickiness in the 365 ecosystems because most healthcare institutions already use 365.

Microsoft has a significant advantage since it’s one of the easier products to get up and running quickly. I believe that Microsoft will do well in this market.

Workday

The healthcare ERP cloud vendor has a particular emphasis on employee experience, given the fact that health institutions around the world are facing shortages in all areas. Workday ERP adoption has been widespread among healthcare organizations, partly because supply chain is at the forefront of cost savings, and companies want to get to the bottom line of patient care.

Oracle

The recent acquisition of Cerner by Oracle has caused a stir in the industry, with many wondering if it will be a game-changer or just another failed attempt at integration. Only time will tell. The company still has a long way to go before achieving its bold vision of creating a master patient database, but I applaud the effort nonetheless.

Key themes for decision makers

Who is your preferred partner? CIOs will utilize their partners to select their cloud interoperability platform. If you’re already a heavy user of Azure and 365, stick with Microsoft. The same applies to the other providers.Pick a partner and go all in. This is not a time to pilot since these solutions solve the same problem and provide a similar playbook on interoperability.Invest in upskilling engineers emphasizing native cloud development while mastering cloud-to-cloud integration. Avoid any potential for vendor lock-in.If you solicit big four consulting firms for help with your assessment, be mindful that they may give you biased advice because of their existing partnership and joint ventures with healthcare cloud providers.Cloud Management, Healthcare Industry

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Vice President for ICT Nicholas Fourie on building T-shaped teams that work cross functionally, the importance of sustainability in any transformation project, and how the company is growing its talent pipeline through internal promotions, graduate programmes and leadership development for its indigenious team members.

Sport pertains to any form of competitivephysical activity or game[1] that aims to use, maintain, or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants and, in some cases, entertainment to spectators.[2] Sports can, through casual or organized participation, improve one’s physical health. Hundreds of sports exist,

hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest (a match) is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a “tie” or “draw”, in w

one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.Sport is generally recognised as system of activities based in physical athleticism or physical dexterity, with major competitions such as the Olympic Games admitting only sports meeting this definition.[3] Other organisations, such as the Council of Europe, preclude activities without a physical element from classification as sports.[2] However, a number of competitive, but non-physical, 

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CIO Leadership Live

The US healthcare industry is undergoing rapid digital transformation. With a focus on patient care, cost savings, and scalable innovation, healthcare organizations in the US are adopting a range of emerging technologies to improve patient experiences, to aid clinicians in their jobs, and to compete with digital entities entering the market.

But laying a digital foundation for the future presents unique challenges in the healthcare industry. Most healthcare organizations are currently reliant on a range of legacy technologies, making the transition to digital and cloud-based solutions complex and slow-moving. More importantly, healthcare isn’t an industry that can withstand significant downtime or major overnight changes, as most systems handle sensitive healthcare and patient data. And with a rise in virtual visits, online healthcare portals, and a desire for more personalized healthcare experiences from patients, the demand for IT professionals — especially those with experience in the healthcare industry — is far outpacing supply.

As a result, tech jobs in US healthcare have increased by 5,000 job postings over the past five months. Some states seeing the highest demand are California, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, according to Dice. Informatics is a top priority, driving a demand for skills such as SQL, Python, data analysis, project management, process improvement, and more.

If you are an IT pro looking to break into the healthcare industry, or a healthcare IT leader wanting to know where hiring will be the most competitive, here are the top nine in-demand tech jobs in healthcare, according to data from Dice.

Software engineer

Software engineers are the most sought-after IT pros in the healthcare industry, which has a stronger focus on data and data privacy, as well as a priority on ensuring the patient experience is top of mind. Because of this, the software and services used in healthcare are all about data, interoperability, and collaboration, and keeping all healthcare professionals connected as a patient moves through their treatment or care plan. Healthcare software engineers are tasked with helping create the systems that healthcare companies, hospitals, and other care facilities use to handle patient care, billing, healthcare data, and more. You’ll be expected to have skills such as C#, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Linux development, Java, database administration, and an understanding of security controls, governance processes, and compliance validation.

The average salary for a healthcare software engineer is $104,181 per year, with a reported salary range from $72,000 to $169,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Data analyst

Because the healthcare industry deals with vast quantities of sensitive patient data, there’s high demand for data professionals who can help with the acquisition, management, analysis, and interpretation of healthcare data. Healthcare data analysts are responsible for tasks such as interpreting and communicating any data trends, overseeing how data is stored and retrieved, identifying areas for service improvements, and offering insights on improving clinical processes. In healthcare, the role of data analyst can also be called health information management (HIM) analyst, since the role typically focuses on patient information such as electronic health records, billing, claims, and patient feedback.

The average salary for a healthcare data analyst is $90,476 per year, with a reported salary range from $58,000 to $166,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Business analyst

Healthcare business analysts are responsible for using data to inform the clinical operations of a healthcare business, hospital, or other care facility. It’s a similar role to data analyst, but a business analyst is focused on interpreting data as it pertains to the business side of the organization. Typically, a healthcare business analyst will have an eye on areas such as clinical operations, financial management, patient engagement, care coordination, and disease management. The role requires you to develop and maintain tools to support decision-making in a clinical setting, interpreting data and delivering reports to senior management, and using data to make recommendations on how to improve operations and patient care.

The average salary for a healthcare business analyst is $90,900 per year, with a reported salary range from $63,000 to $150,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Business systems analyst

A healthcare business systems analyst is responsible for working closely with management and end users to find ways to improve internal systems and implement new technology to support business needs. You’ll be tasked with applying analytical data to help plan, design, and implement technology systems and solutions that help the business meet its goals. Business systems analysts are also tasked with optimizing business and workflow processes, evaluating enterprise applications, identifying areas for improvement, and ensuring that technology solutions stay within budget.

The average salary for a healthcare business systems analyst is $89,374 per year, with a reported salary range from $55,000 to $171,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Director of business development

A director of business development is tasked with developing new business opportunities for the organization, with a focus on rowing revenue and expanding the company’s brand. Not strictly a technology role, directors of business development are also responsible for maintaining relationships with clients, management, and sales, as well as recommending new opportunities to help move the business forward. But as healthcare industry becomes further reliant on IT as core to its business, technology is seen as increasingly important to the role, with business development directors often tasked with identifying multi-discipline technology service deals, managing CRM software, and identifying new potential technology partners. The role requires strong communication and interpersonal skills, an ability to identify industry trends, preparing and maintaining budgets, developing training plans to address skills gaps, and developing sales strategies and business plans.

The average salary for a director of business development is $129,838 per year, with a reported salary range from $81,000 to $237,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Business intelligence developer

A business intelligence developer is responsible for using data analytics and technology to relay important information about the business to key stakeholders and decision-makers. In a healthcare setting, a business intelligence developer will have a focus on building dashboards and reports related to healthcare data. The role typically requires skills such as SQL, JavaScript, Python, CSS, Tableau, data visualization, data optimization, agile, Scrum, and strong written and verbal communication skills.

The average salary for a business intelligence developer is $135,280 per year, with a reported salary range from $88,000 to $259,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Application analyst

A clinical application analyst is responsible for managing an organization’s software systems, which includes identifying potential solutions, testing software, and identifying what tools will be best for the organization. They are also tasked with implementing, troubleshooting, maintaining, and optimizing software applications. You may be required to maintain relationships with vendors, configure new software, train end-users, develop training materials, and handle any questions about software deployments. Other tasks may include managing billing, preparing reports and dashboards, software design, and identifying opportunities to implement new software solutions.

The average salary for a healthcare application analyst is $108,552 per year, with a reported salary range from $71,000 to $192,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Data scientist

A healthcare data scientist is tasked with developing tools to collect and extract healthcare data from hospitals, providers, and federal or state agencies. Where data analysts focus more on interpreting the data, data scientists have their eye on the logistics of obtaining and managing the data. Since the data in healthcare is particularly sensitive, you’ll also be expected to prioritize security, data protection, compliance, and adhering to regulations. Healthcare data can also be incredibly important to public safety, as made evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, so healthcare data scientist is a role that’s not only in-demand, but vital to the industry.

The average salary for a healthcare data scientist is $117,952 per year, with a reported salary range from $86,000 to $175,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Systems administrator

The role of a systems administrator in healthcare is to oversee a company’s systems and ensure there’s minimal interruptions and downtime. These tech professionals are often tasked with monitoring system performance, identifying system issues, performing maintenance, troubleshooting systems, QA testing, and more. You may be expected to work with vendors, install and configure hardware and software, make recommendations for the technical direction of the company, and more. In healthcare, you might see systems administrator jobs listed as clinical informatics specialist, health information systems analyst, or similar titles.

The average salary for a healthcare systems administrator is $99,399 per year, with a reported salary range from $67,000 to $165,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor.

Healthcare Industry, IT Jobs

Once a laggard in IT adoption, the healthcare industry now universally embraces digital transformation.

Consider the figures: According to a 2022 survey from healthcare consultancy The Chartis Group, 99% of the 143 US health system executives it polled agreed on the importance of investing in digital initiatives.

Research points to several drivers that are pushing healthcare entities forward on their digital journeys, with the need to improve patient outcomes and reduce the costs of care topping the list. Other motivations include the desire to provide better patient experiences, to better aid clinicians and support staff in their jobs, and to compete with digital natives that are entering the healthcare market.

The pandemic accelerated the healthcare sector’s digital journey, forcing institutions to work remotely where possible and to find ways to keep up with the high demand for care brought on by COVID, notes Abhishek Singh, a partner at Everest Group and leader of the research firm’s cloud and legacy transformation practice.

Singh says healthcare is seeking transformation throughout its operations — from back-office processes through mid-office functions to front door–type engagements with patients, with digitalization initiatives in the first two areas supporting the last.

“Organizations are more willing and able to spend, as they’re seeing the benefits of their [digital initiatives],” he adds.

Like other sectors, the healthcare industry faces challenges such as financial and resource constraints as they move forward with tech projects, industry experts say. Healthcare also must contend with industry-specific challenges that can slow DX, says Taylor Davis, president of KLAS Research.

“It’s the most complex service industry the world has ever seen,” Davis says. The sector rests on an extensive, complex body of knowledge that’s rapidly increasing. Its core systems hold hundreds of thousands of data fields per individual — significantly more than the per-person count held by core systems in other industries. It’s governed by complicated regulations. It has complicated funding and payment systems. And it’s a high-risk environment, where the consequences of being wrong can be catastrophic or even fatal.

Yet, despite that staggering complexity, experts are seeing leaps in digitalization and transformation to deliver better experiences, more efficient services, and improved care outcomes.

The following eight winners of CIO 100 Awards for IT Innovation and Leadership highlight the digital successes that the healthcare industry has delivered.

Atlantic Health taps AI to expedite critical radiology reviews

Sunil Dadlani, SVP and CIO, Atlantic Health System

Atlantic Health System

Organization: Atlantic Health System

Project: Radiology Imaging AI Analysis Project

IT Leader: Sunil Dadlani, SVP and CIO

For radiologists at Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health System, speed is critical when reviewing patients’ imaging studies.

But the radiologists saw that the work was taking longer than they wanted, particularly for highly advanced studies or studies from patients with previous imaging that also required reviews.

Moreover, while the images could reveal patients in need of immediate additional care — care that was being delayed by the time it took to interpret the images — radiologists didn’t know which patients needed expedited treatment until they had reviewed their images.

Atlantic Health System turned to artificial intelligence to solve for that conundrum, teaming up IT with the radiology department to select software that uses AI to analyze images, with Food and Drug Administration–approved algorithms trained to spot and flag acute abnormalities.

More specifically, the AI analyzes images in queue for review, looking for and identifying clinical abnormalities in those images and then flagging those images for priority review by the radiologists. The technology ensures that images that could indicate the need for time-sensitive treatment are seen first, enabling patients to get the care they need as quickly as possible.

The technology, now fully deployed, is delivering results: By November 2021, the AI prioritized 469 images out of the 8,479 scans it analyzed.

“As with all technological innovations throughout our organization, the patient is always first and foremost at the center of anything we do. This program embodies that approach in a unique way — it is both virtually a clinical assistant to our radiologists, and at the same time an advocate for our patients with the most urgent needs,” says Senior Vice President and CIO Sunil Dadlani.

CommonSpirit Health goes digital to enhance patient experience

Organization: CommonSpirit Health

Project: Connected Patient Journeys and Experiences

IT Leader: Suja Chandrasekaran, system SEVP and chief information and digital officer (Chandrasekaran has since left the company)

CommonSpirit Health has more than 1,000 care sites and 141 hospitals in 21 states. That made the creation and delivery of integrated, standardized, and connected patient experiences across a continuum of provided care essential.

With that in mind, its IT and digital teams in July 2020 embarked on a project to create connected, personalized patient journeys and experiences, with a goal to deliver better, more holistic healthcare for patients and to develop better operating models for providers.

Engaging all key stakeholders, processes, and systems, the teams created governance structures, working groups, cross-platform application architectures, common goals, and key performance indicators to ensure the project successfully progressed.

They then charted key patient journeys, infusing digital and human experiences in each journey to promote patient engagement and deliver a better care experience. The teams then identified, evaluated, and prioritized those experiences, working with operational and clinical teams to build new products and processes to further support them.

CommonSpirit Health has enjoyed positive returns on its investments. For example, in fiscal 2021 its Unified Web Experience served more than 6.5 million page views in two of its transitioned markets. And its Search and Schedule Experience served more than 2.6 million clinician profile views to patients, some 94,000 online appointment bookings and more than 720,000 click-to-call connections to care providers.

ChedMed IntuneHealth offers VIP care to senior patients, wherever they need it

Hernando Celada, chief innovation and strategic initiatives officer, ChenMed

ChenMed

Organization: IntuneHealth – A ChenMed Company

Project: IntuneHealth

IT Leader: Hernando Celada, CIO

Miami-based ChenMed has created a new entity, IntuneHealth, that uses technology to deliver concierge, VIP care when and where its senior patients need it.

IntuneHealth is a fully-integrated system of care featuring a patient-facing app through which patients can access care at any time, including virtual visits with the touch of a button.

Patients can use the app to order medicines, schedule appointments, get lab results and their medical history. They can use the app to access concierge and support team members around the clock year-round.

Moreover, they can use the app to manage their care whether that care is delivered virtually, in office, or at their own homes, as well as whether the care is provided by their own primary care physicians (PCPs) or specialists.

IntuneHealth also uses technology to enable doctor-to-doctor coordination of care, so PCPs can guide their patients through specialty care and visits.

Other features include an easy-to-use interface with data-driven personalization; a patient portal featuring appointment scheduling and reminders; medication refill requests and reminders; referral management; and the capability to link with monitoring devices, wearables, and other such tools.

Patients can use the app to connect to their caregivers via video, phone, or in-app chat. Additionally, they can use it to access virtual events and social activities, such as cooking classes, fitness competitions, and games.

“IntuneHealth is taking the hassle out of healthcare and delivering high-quality, convenient care to our members, whether that’s in one of our centers, virtually through our app, or in the comfort of their own home,” says CIO Hernando Celada. “We believe healthcare should be accessible, simple, and coordinated to deliver the best experience and outcomes for our patients — and we look forward to providing that at IntuneHealth.”

Jackson Healthcare automates patient record-sharing

Michael Garcia, SVP and CIO, Jackson Healthcare System

Jackson Healthcare System

Organization: Jackson Healthcare System

Project: Medical Record Surveillance and Record Sharing

IT Leader: Michael Garcia, SVP and CIO

Miami-based Jackson Healthcare System faced challenges around efficiently sharing patient records with other entities. This was a particular problem when working with smaller medical organizations, such as private practices and nursing facilities, that referred their own patients to the larger Jackson Healthcare System for medical services.

More specifically, many of those smaller entities rely on manual processes to retrieve patient records from Jackson. That created additional work for Jackson Healthcare workers and those at referring organizations, which often had to manually match retrieved records with their own patient files. This manual work meant records requests could take weeks to complete.

To address those issues, cross-disciplinary teams turned to process automation, data manipulation, an integration engine, and other technologies for its Medical Record Surveillance and Record Sharing project. The in-house solution uses data surveillance to scan medical records in real-time, match them to the partner organizations, and then automate the medical record transfers.

This solution also sends medical records to the referral organization via the method of their choice, as files, direct messages, electronic fax, or even physical fax. Moreover, the technology can scale, thereby helping Jackson efficiently handle an increasing number of referrals.

“For too long, healthcare has faced the hurdle of a challenging technological landscape and limited options to share patient records easily. The automation of medical record-sharing overcame this big hurdle for referring organizations and enabled Jackson to grow partnerships while simultaneously benefiting our patients and community,” says Senior Vice President and CIO Michael Garcia.

He adds: “This technology has become a strategic differentiator to keep Jackson as a community leader and a place for everyone to receive the highest-level care.”

Marshfield Clinic turns to telehealth to overcome staffing shortages

Organization: Marshfield Clinic Health System

Project: Telehealth Solutions in Critical Access Hospitals

IT Leader: Jeri Koester, CIO

Marshfield Clinic Health System was facing a staffing challenge at its Neillsville, Wisc., facility. The healthcare organization had a shortage of physicians, mostly primary care providers and emergency department clinicians who supervised its nurse practitioner (NP) hospitalists and provided direct patient care.

MCHS saw telehealth as a solution to that problematic scenario. It deployed a TeleDoc Health RP-Vita Robot, which enabled MD hospitalists to conduct virtual visits with patients and virtually supervise and consult with NP hospitalists at the Neillsville facility.

Remote providers can move the self-driving robotic cart themselves by simply clicking a link to direct it to its destination, with onboard sonar keeping the cart from colliding with people or objects in its path.

Buoyed by the success of that program, MCHS expanded the use of telehealth in its facilities to enable remote specialty consults for patients. For example, the organization deployed InTouch TV pro devices to each patient room, first at MMC-Neillsville and later at its Ladysmith, Wisc., hospital. The technology converts every in-room television to a telehealth endpoint capable of offering video and audio visits with healthcare providers across a range of care — from medical specialties to nutrition needs to spiritual services. The InTouch TV Pro also enables patients to facilitate their own video visits with friends and family when in-person visitations aren’t possible.

According to MCHS, these telehealth solutions have helped increase healthcare access and quality while decreasing costs and provider dissatisfaction.

“Part of our mission at Marshfield Clinic Health System is to bring affordable healthcare to our communities. We need to use innovation to meet the needs of such a rural healthcare population,” says CIO Jeri Koester. “In some of our communities, if we weren’t present, patients would drive hours for access care. By maximizing our capabilities with a telehealth solution, we are able to bring expert-level physician care to wherever our patients are.”

Novant Health tele-ICU improves patient care virtually

Onyeka Nchege, SVP and CIO, Novant Health

Novant Health

Organization: Novant Health

Project: Digital Enhancement and Virtualization of Traditional Care Channels and Processes

IT Leader: Onyeka Nchege, SVP and CIO

Novant Health, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., has focused on deploying technology to create virtually enhanced care in its own facilities, in its patients’ homes, and even in community locations.

Novant Health’s tele-ICU program demonstrates this vision, enabling critical care physicians (called intensivists) and experienced critical care nurses to remotely monitor patients who are being seen onsite in community care facilities. These intensivists and nurses can work from Novant Health’s two command centers, other care sites, or even their own homes.

Novant Health built this tele-ICU program on various technologies, including mobile advanced sensor capabilities that can be moved into standard hospital rooms to provide an intensive-care degree of monitoring for the patient; tele-ICU workstations in the command centers with multiple monitors, headsets, and webcams for intensivists; and an electronic medical record (EMR) system with tools tailored to support digital tele-ICU workflows.

To ensure the tele-ICU program enabled a seamless patient care experience, Novant Health’s Digital Products and Services (DPS) team automated communication between care teams. The DPS team also worked with clinicians to develop and deploy algorithms to score medical and safety alerts based on patient acuity levels and then automated notifications.

“Our work developing our tele-ICU program has enhanced the patient experience and virtualized our traditional care channels to deliver business value, increase access to care, and improve the quality of that care,” says Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Onyeka Nchege. “This project was a transformative component of Novant Health’s path through the pandemic surge and laid the foundation for virtual extensions now woven throughout all previously existing physical locations.”

In addition to tele-ICU, Novant Health’s DPS team has delivered other advanced technologies (such as AI/machine learning, advanced sensors, autonomous drones, and robotics) to support next-level healthcare and provide the foundation for a highly-advanced, interwoven composite care delivery method.

Penn Medicine digitally transforms DNA sample collection

Michael Restuccia, SVP and CIO, Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine

Organization: Penn Medicine

Project: Accelerating Research by Integrating Clinical and Research IT Systems to Rapidly Expand Penn Medicine’s Biorepository

IT Leader: Michael Restuccia, SVP and CIO

As Penn Medicine anticipated a dramatic growth in patient DNA sample collections, officials concluded that the organization’s existing processes were too labor-intensive to enable that expected expansion.

So Penn Medicine set out to develop a technology-enabled process that could support collecting large numbers of specimens as well as obtaining and storing patient consent — all without driving up costs and increasing manual work.

To deliver on that objective, multiple teams collaborated to design and implement a new process for managing the physical samples and the data associated with them.

This multidisciplinary project built a process that leverages electronic medical record (EMR) system and its patient portal to obtain patient consent; uses the clinical lab system to barcode samples; uses the laboratory information management system (LIMS) to process samples; and works across those multiple systems to link research samples to clinical identifiers.

In another key innovation, the LIMS and data analytics teams set up an integration with the EMR and clinical lab IS systems to identify the patient’s electronic patient identifier from the collected sample’s clinical accession number, with linking occurring automatically each night. The new setup increases quality and speed by eliminating high-cost manual efforts and ensuring a higher degree of accuracy over the legacy manual approach.

Penn Medicine officials said the project is now successfully supporting its expanding collection of biological samples. But they also noted that the collaborative effort to re-imagine a process leveraging established, centralized systems, staff, and processes was itself a key innovation.

“Over the past decade, we have invested significantly in foundational technologies to support our clinical and research operations. When our research community proposed a significant expansion of our central sample bio-repository, we seized upon the opportunity to modernize their patient consenting and sample collection processes,” says Michael Restuccia, Penn Medicine senior vice president and CIO.

University of Miami Health System enlists IoT to ensure COVID vigilance

David Reis, CIO, University of Miami Health System and Miller School of Medicine

University of Miami Health System and Miller School of Medicine

Organization: University of Miami Health System

Project: Enhancing Tele-Vigilance

IT Leader: Dr. David Reis, VP of IT and CIO

Seeking to minimize COVID-19 transmissions as cases surged in Florida, the University of Miami Health System IT department developed what it termed “tele-vigilance” using IoT-enabled remote monitoring capabilities.

The IT department partnered with the IoT company TytoCare and Epic Systems, maker of electronic medical records (EMR) systems, to invent an end-to-end solution.

TytoCare’s all-in-one modular physical IoT device remotely monitors vital signs and breath sounds. Users can also use the device to pick up images of the skin, ears, eyes, and throats and then upload all that information to their medical record.

Doctors could enroll patients in the tele-vigilance program by using the EMR to order the TytoCare IoT device and establish for each patient which vitals to monitor and for how long. Each order would route to the tele-vigilance group, which would assist each individual — whether a student, employee, or patient — with device setup.

The IT department developed a new capability within the EMR to link the IoT device with each patient’s medical record and to automatically pull in the patient’s vital signs from the device.

IT developed automated data integrity methods, so that a real-time notification would be sent to the tele-vigilance team to contact patients if there were linking issues.

Additionally, the IT team integrated the IoT device with the patient portal, so individuals could see the vital signs that were sent to the tele-vigilance doctor.

And the team created a real-time push notification capability, which would send alerts to the tele-vigilance provider’s smartphone if any patient’s vital signs were out of range.

The University of Miami Health System deployed thousands of devices to students, employees, and patients, allowing them to be closely monitored at home after a COVID-19 positive test, thereby reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and exposing others to the virus while ensuring escalation of care if needed.

Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Business Process Management, CIO 100, Data Management, Healthcare Industry, Internet of Things

For the healthcare sector, siloed data comes across as a major bottleneck in the way of innovative use cases such as drug discovery, clinical trials, and predictive healthcare. An Aster DM Healthcare, an Indian healthcare institution, has now found a solution to this problem that could lead to several cutting-edge solutions.

A single patient generates nearly 80MB of data annually through imaging and electronic medical records. RBC Capital Market projects that the annual growth rate of data for healthcare will reach 36% by 2025. “Genomic data alone is predicted to be 2 to 40 exabytes by 2025, eclipsing the amount of data acquired by all other technological platforms,” it says.

Although AI-enabled solutions in areas such as medical imaging are helping to address pressing challenges such as staffing shortages and aging populations, accessing silos of relevant data spread across various hospitals, geographies, and other health systems, while complying with regulatory policies, is a massive challenge.

Dr Harsh Rajaram, COO at Aster Telehealth, India & GCC

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“In a distributed learning setup, data from different hospitals must be brought together to create a centralised data repository for model training, raising lot of concerns on data privacy. Hospitals are sceptical in participating in such initiatives, fearing losing control on the patient data, though they see immense value in it,” says Dr Harsha Rajaram, COO at Aster Telehealth, India & GCC. Its parent firm Aster DM Healthcare is a conglomerate with hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and healthcare consultancy service under its portfolio.

To overcome these challenges, Aster Innovation and Research Centre, the innovation hub of Aster DM Healthcare, has deployed its Secure Federated Learning Platform (SFLP) that securely and rapidly enables access to anonymised and structured health data for research and collaboration.

Federated learning is a method of training AI algorithms with data stored at multiple decentralised sources without moving that data. The SFLP allows access to diverse data source without compromising the data privacy, because data remains at the source, while the model training happens from multiple data sources.

“The platform marks a paradigm shift by getting the compute to the data rather than getting the data to the compute,” says Dr Lalit Gupta, consultant AI scientist-innovation at Aster Digital Health.

“Federated technology provided us a platform through which we can unlock the immense potential data provides to draw better insights into clinical, operational, and business challenges and tap on newer opportunities without the fear of losing control of our data. It will allow data scientists from multiple organisations to perform AI training without sharing raw data. By gaining access to larger data sets, they can develop more accurate AI models. It will also ensure data compliance and governance,” COO Rajaram says.

The building blocks of SFLP

Before deploying the platform, Aster conducted a capability demonstration, or proof of concept, of the platform using hospital data from the Bengaluru and Vijayawada clusters of Aster Hospital.

“The platform comprised a two-node collaboration with machines physically located in Bangalore and Vijayawada. The director/aggregator was in Bangalore and the two envoy/collaborator were distributed between Bengaluru and Vijayawada, respectively. The software setup included Ubuntu 20.04.02 with kernel version 5.4.0-65-generic, OpenFL Python library for collaboration, PyTorch Python library[GG1]  for developing deep learning models, and Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000 GPU,” says Gupta.

Dr Lalit Gupta, consultant AI scientist-innovation at Aster Digital Health

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“The Aster IT team helped to install and set up the three servers, enabled ports, installed the operating system and necessary drivers, and maintained the servers. The IT team also helped to fetch the data from PACS and HIS, which was required for federated learning experiments,” he says. PACS refers to picture archiving and communication system, a medical imaging technology used to store and transmit electronic images and reports. An HIS or health information system is designed to manage healthcare data.

As part of the capability demonstration, more than 125,000 chest X-ray images, including 18,573 images from more than 30,000 unique patient data from Bengaluru, were used to train a CheXNet AI model, developed in Python, to detect abnormalities in the X-ray report. The additional 18,537 images provided a 3% accuracy boost due to real-world data that was otherwise not available for training the AI model.

The platform can accommodate any analytical tool and does not have any restrictions on the size of data. “We shall decide on size of data based on use case. In case of our capability demonstration experiments, we used a chest X-ray image database of around 30GB,” says COO Rajaram.

It took Aster about eight months, including four months of the capability demonstration, to deploy the system. The platform went live in June 2022. We are in our early days with hardware and software deployed at only two hospitals currently. We intend to increase these deployments to multiple hospitals and look forward to other providers joining hands to leverage the ecosystem,” says Rajaram.

Addressing new data security challenges

While federated learning as a methodology is a well-acknowledged approach to address the data privacy challenges, it also brings in additional security risks as the data/AI model assets are more exposed to possible hacking. Hence, it is essential to provide security capabilities to go with the privacy.

A set of security related instruction codes are built into the central processing units of the servers, which provide the required hardware-based memory encryption that isolates specific application code and data in memory for data security. “The platform combines federated learning with security guarantees enabled by its hardware. This helps to protect data and AI model in storage, when transmitted over network, and during execution of federated learning training jobs. The security features in the platform provide confidentiality, integrity, and attestation capabilities that prevent stealing or reverse-engineering of the data distribution,” says Rajaram.

“Annotation was already in our PACS system. We used its API for data extraction. Though anonymisation was not required since it was within our network, for the pilot we did anonymise the data from the back end,” he says.

Electronic Health Records, Healthcare Industry

Due to social distancing imposed over the last couple of years, the cyber industry has accelerated in all areas of life across Africa, especially in health in a relentless quest for solutions for the Covid-19 crisis. Africa has advanced with entrepreneurs who have tried to make the most of digital opportunities in a sector that has major shortcomings. Most notably, the chronic shortage of skilled personnel on the continent, which the WHO detailed in a June 2022 report predicting a shortage of millions of health professionals in Africa by 2030, an increase of 45% since 2013, when last estimates were made. Yet the report also envisaged a “promising future” for e-health on the continent, noting that a new wave of mobile technology is radically changing the way health care is delivered in urban and rural communities.

However, numbers and opinions of the overall situation aren’t encouraging.

As of November 2020, 34 member states in the WHO African region have developed digital health strategies, but these have so far only been implemented in 12 countries.

Africa has low maturity, is the least advanced in infrastructure, and lags behind the global average in legislation, policy and compliance, standards and operability, and infrastructure according to the Global Digital Health Index Indicator 2019.

Between telemedicine, awareness and prevention through mobile health promotion applications, monitoring of patients and epidemics via electronic medical records, the scope of e-health is wide and there are many levels of difficulty to overcome so called “medical deserts” in Africa, according to Hadi Zarzour, manager of Africa and the Middle East at Evolucare, a French company that publishes health software and an expert in health information systems.

“Today in Africa, there’s a growing ambition to go digital because it allows us to secure data,” says Zarzour. “We no longer lose the patient’s data as we used to do with paper. The information is preserved and digital allows us to store, trace and archive this data for better medical follow-up and to avoid bad communication of medical information.”

CIO, Digital Transformation, Medical Devices, Startups

Anil Bhatt, Global Chief Information Officer at Elevance Health, joins host Maryfran Johnson for this CIO Leadership Live interview, jointly produced by CIO.com and the CIO Executive Council. They discuss using AI in predictive healthcare, blockchain collaborations, the future of digital healthcare, global innovation trends and more.

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