Top 5 videos from HIMSS17
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Top 5 videos from HIMSS17

HIMSS16 Social Media Ambassador Shahid Shah: End of meaningful use will unshackle EHR innovation

While electronic health records will remain central to in-patient workflows, Shah said that machine learning and artificial intelligence are coming to healthcare, as are other technologies already proven in different industries.
By Mike Miliard
11:02 AM
Shahid Shah said visionary CIOs will limit EHRs exposure to

Shahid Shah – known as @ShahidNShah to his his 4,500-plus Twitter followers and "The Healthcare IT Guy" to the wider Web – has more than two decades in healthcare information technology on his CV.

Shah helped deploy the EHR used by the American Red Cross. He built Web-based EMRs used by small physician practices, designed clinical interfaces for hospitals in his capacity as chief technical officer at a division of care services giant Cardinal Health, and he’s been a longtime HIMSS attendee and social media stalwart. HIMSS16, in fact, will be his second year running as a Social Media Ambassador at HIMSS.

Among the many items on Shah's to-do-list at HIMSS16 is a YourTurn session focused on the Department of Homeland Security's continuous diagnostics and monitoring as applied to healthcare cybersecurity.

But that's far from the only thing on his radar screen for the conference, which runs from Feb. 29 through March 4 in Las Vegas. We caught up with Shah recently to talk about his expectations for HIMSS16 and health IT in general.

Q. One health IT prediction for 2016?

A. I believe industry-neutral IaaS, BI, ML, and AI solutions providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Iron Mountain and Oracle will start to become more relevant in healthcare-specific workflows. They will do this by adding significant healthcare-oriented professional services and acquiring specialty players that will allow them to start, this year, signing some deals around non-clinical revenue cycle and population health based precision/personalized medicine use cases first. Then, they'll shed their fear of regulations and move slowly into deeper clinical use cases that are currently handled by traditional EHRs. EHRs will of course remain central to in-patient workflows but visionary health system CIOs will start to consider how to limit their EHR exposure to other tasks.

Q. What are you most looking forward to learning about at HIMSS16?

A. As meaningful use's stifling of innovation starts to dissipate and value-driven outcomes become more important, healthcare certifications (e.g. being "MU certified") will have less significance over time. Payment reform programs at insurers and employers appear to be real and require new technologies, many of which need not be supplied by healthcare-specific vendors. This means that innovations proven to work in other sectors of the economy should start to make their way faster into healthcare. As digital health just becomes 'healthcare,' remote care and telemedicine becomes just 'medicine,' direct primary care becomes 'standard care,' and medical devices just become 'wearables,' I'm hoping that healthcare IT and enterprise IT become the same thing. This is happening in other industries and I'm going to see how much of this will happen in healthcare. The digital health ecosystem is starting to mature and we're seeing industry-neutral (instead of just healthcare industry specific) technology vendors starting to play a larger role. I'm looking forward to learning whether industry-neutral solutions, such as customer relationship management, predictive analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence, do a better job of handling complex healthcare challenges than their industry-specific brethren.

Q. What's something about you that even your devout followers likely don't know?

A. Most of my followers don't know that I'm a big science fiction fan, especially Star Trek. While I'm pretty social in my professional life, I prefer to be alone with my family during my limited personal time. Many are surprised to hear that when I'm not working, lecturing or traveling I usually relax by watching sci-fi or documentaries with my wife and kids.

Q. What inspired you to apply for the Social Media Ambassador program?

A. HIMSS was generous enough to grant me Social Media Ambassador status last year and I had a great time having interesting discussions with innovators (vendors), speakers, and other attendees. The SMA program is an ideal "all access pass" to content and experts which has help grow my knowledge considerably; plus, it allows me to share my professional experience, through lectures and writing, with a wider community than would be possible on my own. I've been a longtime HIMSS volunteer so I'd be happy to be an SMA for as long as HIMSS finds me useful.

Q. What's an under-appreciated benefit of social media in healthcare today?

A. Using social media for health telemetry and signals for patients and health professional reputation and digital stature scoring are some areas that should be considered. For example, what we know today about physician and professional credentials are done without a lot of social reputation or crowdsourcing and that process can improve significantly. On the patient side, when we do patient intake we don't use social networking for behavioral signals or other telemetry from patient generated healthcare data as input to patient conditions.

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN 


This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the HIMSS16 conference. Follow our live blog for real-time updates, and visit Destination HIMSS16 for a full rundown of our reporting from the show. For a selection of some of the best social media posts of the show, visit our Trending at #HIMSS16 hub.