In 2020, AI will aid administrators and CISOs will refresh internal security

An expert at AI-based cloud fax tech vendor Concord Technologies offers his look ahead at the year – focusing on AI, cybersecurity and interoperability.
By Bill Siwicki
03:25 PM
In 2020, AI will aid administrators and CISOs will refresh internal security

Update: HIMSS20 has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Read more here.

As healthcare provider organizations confront the steep challenge of securely and efficiently bridging the digital gaps among various technology systems, many are looking to cloud technologies that empower interoperability, marry healthcare information systems with AI, and ensure the privacy and security of patient data.

With this in mind, Healthcare IT News turned to Concord Technologies, a cloud fax and document process automation company (it will be in booth 634 at HIMSS20 in March), to look ahead at 2020 and identify three trends with AI-based cloud fax technology.

Targeted AI relieves administrator’s burden

The CAQH Index shows a $9.8 billion savings opportunity for the healthcare industry by reducing the administrative burden found in eligibility and benefit verification, prior authorization, claim submission, coordination of benefits or a crossover claim, claim status inquiry, claim payment, and remittance advice. CAQH is a non-profit alliance of health plans and trade associations developing and leading initiatives designed to positively impact the business of healthcare.

In 2020, AI-enabled technologies will transform administrative workflows across digital channels, reducing administrator and clinician burnout and improving overall staff satisfaction, said John Harrison, senior vice president at Concord Technologies.

“Advances in unsupervised machine learning and natural language processing are now enabling intelligent data capture software to automatically learn how to identify, classify and extract patient-related information from documentation and then index those documents so they can be incorporated into patient records in both clinical and administrative applications,” he explained.

This automation of tasks will reduce the need for administrative staff to collect, enter and validate patient data by hand; lessen the risk of omissions and errors in data entry; and allow clinicians to focus on patients, he added. This also will allow the use of existing and new communication systems among providers without disruption to established workflows, he said.

Tech aiding providers’ cybersecurity efforts

No one in health IT doubts that cybersecurity will remain a top priority for healthcare provider organizations in 2020. Harrison has his view on where trends will take security this year.

“Organizations will streamline and fortify their cybersecurity programs with technologies that already offer a high level of protection so that they can focus on refreshing internal security policies and procedures,” he said. “Priority will be given to technologies that enable secure communication by encrypting data, making sure firewalls are properly configured, updating operating systems, implementing the right anti-virus solutions, and monitoring incoming documents.”

Beyond the basics, provider organizations will strengthen security foundations with advanced tools, such as tools for disaster recovery and automatic lockout that fortify existing security fundamentals and protect health systems and patient health data from cyberattack, he said. Security teams will safeguard data at the firmware level, vet vendors and establish security safeguards for exchanging data within and between health systems, he added.

“Providers also will focus on physical security and reliability of data transmission,” he predicted. “They will opt for data centers that are scalable to handle more than the total peak traffic for the entire network at any one time. Organizations are already looking at data centers with a large bandwidth and an active/active network architecture that can enable component updates or even an entire data center to be taken out of commission with no service interruption.”

A small data center with an Active-Passive network architecture requires a fail-over process that can cause a tremendous disturbance to accessing data and the care process, be it for a routine network update or an emergency situation, he contended.

Cloud fax will ease interoperability challenges

As the data interoperability challenge between clinical systems persists, healthcare provider organizations will leverage innovations in existing technologies to help close the gap, Harrison said.

“For example, providers will turn to new capabilities in cloud-based fax services to digitally automate and facilitate currently manual inbound fax workflows for routing and filing patient documents into the EHR,” he said. “Artificial intelligence technologies like machine learning and natural language processing in cloud fax will increasingly support the development of more complete and accurate electronic health records.”

AI will help automatically classify incoming fax documents by intelligently identifying key clinical and patient demographic concepts contained within the documents, he explained. And NLP, in particular, will be used to interpret free unstructured text, widely used in faxed doctors’ notes, and then extract relevant information into normalized, discrete data that can then be processed by the EHR, he added.

“This reduces the risk of information loss and error during data exchange as well as brings the industry closer to the creation of a longitudinal patient record that can then follow them throughout their health journey and facilitate the continuum-of-care,” he concluded.

Concord Technologies will be in booth 634 at HIMSS20.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
Email the writer: bill.siwicki@himssmedia.com
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.