• January 19, 2017

Achieving Smarter Healthcare

By Susan Arthur

Are you ready for the digital healthcare economy? 

New data- and connectivity-oriented solutions are making healthcare workers and organizations more efficient, and are contributing to more positive patient health outcomes. But not every enterprise is adequately prepared for this digital transformation.

We see intelligence healthcare emerging across three key technologies:  accessible intelligence, intelligent devices, and systems that connect healthcare workers.  We also see significant security challenges, as hospitals and health systems struggle to protect patient data and privacy in the face of growing cybercrime.

Here is a closer look at some of these crucial developments.

Advanced data management and analytic systems are bringing fast and far-reaching changes.  We see major impacts on predictive outcomes management, product safety, patient stratification, and digital therapies.  These systems hold real promise, but also pose new challenges.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), for example, may create operational and potential liability problems. When a traditional diagnostician reads an x-ray, for example, the process is known and the responsibility is clear. When the same image is analyzed using AI, and a problem occurs, who is responsible and who is liable?

A more connected, digitally-enabled workforce is accelerating efficiencies across the healthcare value chain. Additive manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, and other advances are streamlining engineering, production, and the global distribution.  Consider differentiated supply chain, where pharmaceutical or medical device firms now use digital technologies to customize transport, warehousing, and logistics.

Intelligent healthcare devices now capture data from built-in sensors to monitor patients, administer medicines, and adjust treatments.  We are seeing key shifts in those connected, smarter devices – towards monitoring multiple biometric indicators, precision care tuned to individual patients, and supporting preventative, self-guided, and home-based care.

Given the importance of data in these new systems – and the alarming headlines about data breaches and cybercrime – it comes as no surprise that security is a concern across the healthcare value chain.

In 2016, a number of hospitals suffered ransomware attacks, including the Marin Healthcare District in California and the New Jersey Spine Center, both of which reportedly paid to get vital healthcare data back.  Security professionals expect more and increasingly damaging attacks.

Hacking is a threat, not just against large enterprise IT systems, but also for home health monitoring units, pacemakers, drug infusion pumps, and other increasingly IP-enabled devices.

Corporate brands can be tarnished, careers ended, and the health and welfare of patients endangered.

The “good guys” are responding, but more is needed. In Europe, the newly-enacted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) imposes stringent new rules on hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, universities, and tech companies.

At the enterprise level, organizations need robust cybersecurity measures, including continual assessments of the threat environment, and Best Practice methods to protect healthcare consumers, supply chains, and organizations.

The events of 2016 confirm: a major transformation is reshaping the medical landscape. Those who are ready will play a more prominent role in the emerging Digital Healthcare Economy.

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About the Author
Susan Arthur, Vice President & General Manager, Health & Life Sciences, Canada Public Sector, and Communications, Media and Entertainment industry groups, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Susan Arthur is Vice President and General Manager of a number of high growth industry groups within the Enterprise Services division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. As leader of the Health & Life Sciences, Canada Public Sector, and Communications, Media and Entertainment industry groups, she is focused on helping clients transform their businesses so they can operate and compete more effectively in the digital economy.

Susan is responsible for developing and executing her business’ overall strategy, client success and financial results. Leading a $2.3B extended team of more than 15,000 client-focused professionals, Susan’s organization has built successful relationships and driven superior client value.

She is a frequent speaker on healthcare, leadership and digital transformation issues. Susan served as a member of the World Economic Forum Healthcare Industry Working Group for the Digital Transformation of Industries: Healthcare Whitepaper in January 2016. She has also served in key leadership roles in the tech industry advisory and nonprofit organizations having recently completed her term as Chair of the CompTia, State and Local Government Council Executive Board. From 2010 – 2014, she served on the Tech America Executive Committee and chaired their Health IT Committee. Susan was honored for her work in tech services and government with a 2014 State Scoop 50 Industry Leadership Award.