Helen Figge, Chief Communications & Public Relations Officer, CareFullyInc. Health 2.0 Boston, Chair
Challenges in the Healthcare IT Industry
The biggest challenge in the healthcare industry is using technology to assist in complying with new government requirements and mandates. Currently, we are living in an era of the nuances of various mobile solutions yet most hospital entities, clinics and physician offices still have desktop technologies and keyboards. We need to remove these various devices to create a more mobile environment to facilitate the support of important healthcare-related tasks, such as gathering quick information and placing orders for real-time execution. This, in turn, would provide and assist in seamlessly delivering efficient and user-friendly technology data which has the potential to eliminate the current ordeals faced by physicians receiving data that is not in real time and in a practical format for actionable steps.
Technology and the ‘People Factor’
For sustainability, the world of healthcare IT and clinical medicine need to come together in order to improve the design and implementation of all current or future systems and technologies in healthcare. We need to work more on the “people factor” of things because without practical and frontline input, there is no feasible way that any IT health professional could perform efficiently and in a sustainable fashion. The only resolution is to infuse innovations into heart of the system—whether it is workflow process development, artificial intelligence, practical technology approaches, or a combination of all of the above. Under the current healthcare system there is no easy “fix” but rather a compilation of several different pieces working together to create a streamlined and uniformed approach to healthcare and its delivery. Given the current healthcare landscape it is ripe for innovational approaches even from outside the healthcare industry—Google and Amazon among others are approaching healthcare to create an impact so an infusion of ideas and processes from other business sectors might prove to be the nirvana all are hoping for in the quest to “fix” the healthcare dilemma once and for all.
Technological Trends in the Healthcare Landscape
The biggest impact on the healthcare industry has been through the infusion of mobile technologies and the “hospital in the home” model of delivering care. For patients, it might reflect as therapies that help them return to a healthy life and for their caregivers, an assurance that their patients and loved ones are receiving the care they deserve. There too are the payers that want quality care at a competitive cost. It’s all about positive outcomes—clinical, social and financial. Another facet of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape is the bring your own device (BYOD) policy that will be a great influencer, given that the consumer market is now driving corporate adoption of virtually all business segments in USA. Consumer driven healthcare will be significantly cost-effective with the adoption of mobile devices in the workplace along with cloud infrastructure supporting a range of devices.
"Under the current healthcare system there is no easy “fix” but rather a compilation of several different pieces working together to create a streamlined and uniformed approach to healthcare and its delivery"
Involvement of IT in Healthcare
Being more business savvy is becoming significantly important as employee skills are becoming invaluable in delivering on programs, processes and successes. One of the biggest components of technology is the various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that support an effective way to communicate and drive communications in healthcare between all stakeholders—patient, care giver, physician and even the payers. With the onset of all of the wearable devices and sensors, we are now on a new trajectory in healthcare that might just be sustainbable for generations to come.
Security in IT and Healthcare
Today one of the key concerns in healthcare is security—security of the data and all information surrounding that data. And if nothing else, before we move further in innovating healthcare, we need to lock all sensitive information down and make it as secure as possible. Cyberseucrity threats are caused by people using the technologies to harm other people; So we need to realize the human factor is paramount in the securing of healthcare IT and its data. While any organization has a designated “gatekeeper” identified such as the CISO, we all have the burden of protecting data, people, and things. Security begins from the ground up—from the front liner staff who sees and hears things that might prove helpful in avoiding a security breach to the top level executives making policy and business decisions affecting security overall. We all share the burden and successes of security and I think we need to really start marketing in healthcare just as we do in the transportation sector of our lives: “if you see something—say something.” It is paramount to build the foundation of security for a long-term sustainability healthcare model.
Pearls of Wisdom for Executives
The most important thing is to learn from everybody you meet—regardless of title, age or position. We can all learn from each other as each of us has unique skills and approaches to things. It is important to always keep an open mind and react when appropriate to listen and absorb as much as one can. My career has evolved out of the various passions that I have identified and subsequently acquired the skills to attain the end goal of each of my passions. I have also met and continue to meet some really great people from all professional spheres whom I admire and want to emulate which makes for a rewarding and long term career that I am still in the midst of creating.