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AI tapped as most impactful innovation at HIMSS19

AI will have widespread impact, HIMSS19 attendees predicted, particularly by influencing clinical decision-making, while telehealth and devices that facilitate the transition to home-based care will change the dynamics of healthcare delivery.

Jeff Rowe | Feb 20, 2019 09:11 am

Among the 40,000-plus attendees at last week’s HIMSS19 conference in Orlando, what was considered the IT innovation poised to have the most impact on healthcare moving forward?

OK, to be fair, every attendee did not actually weigh in on the subject, but writer Mandy Roth for HealthLeadersMedia did raise the question pretty frequently during interviews, at exhibit booths, and while networking.

As she summed up the results,  “the responses were diverse, but the most common answer involved some form of artificial intelligence.”

For example, Marc Probst, vice president and chief information officer for Intermountain Healthcare,  said, ”The [innovation] I'd like to see that could have the greatest impact on healthcare is really facilitating the use of electronic medical record by our clinical caregivers. But I'm not seeing it. So what I am seeing, and what I think is going to have a huge impact, is artificial intelligence—that's everything from the ability to interpret images, to helping clinicians in making the best decisions in their care practices.”

Similarly, Bernie Rice, chief information officer at Nemours Children's Health System, said about the HIMSS19 exhibits, “I was most struck by all the artificial intelligence and machine learning technology on display. Very soon, I expect this will really impact how health systems operate and improve the efficiencies of the services [health] systems provide. With regard to patient care, it is clear that we are just starting to experience the benefits of precision medicine delivering the right care for the right patient at the right time.”

Nat'e Guyton, chief nurse officer at Spok, a communications systems provider, shared the focus a bit, noting, "I think there are two: artificial intelligence, like voice assistants being used in a hospital space, but I think telehealth and telemedicine are going to explode and expand.  . . . I’ve already seen telehealth work in the home, but there is more of a global impact with telehealth and telemedicine. People in remote countries can receive care from the best clinicians around the world—from little children to adults … To really change the world and change care, telehealth is going to do that."

On the other hand, going even further down the AI road, Mark LaRow, CEO at Verato, a cloud-based patient matching service, predicted, “I don't think we'll ever replace doctors, but I think very soon we're going to find that it will be unethical for physicians to treat complicated illnesses without the assistance of artificial intelligence that can bring in so much more information and apply it to the care regimen of a person … Part of it is bringing information that's external, [such as] new treatment regimens or new pharmaceutical results. The other side of it is bringing in data about the patient. It comes from both directions … If you don't have all the patient data, your conclusion is going to be wrong.”